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11-01-10, 12:29 PM
CH-53K Helicopter Program Sustains Progress with Successful Integration Design Review

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued January 7, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today announced that an Integration Design Review (IDR) of the CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter program has charted a course for a successful Critical Design Review in 2010. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

Sikorsky's CH-53K program team hosted a two-day meeting in November to bring together the program's key collaborators for an in-depth discussion on system design compliance and verification, design integration and cross-discipline system design attributes. Participating in the meeting were members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, NAVAIR Technical Review Board, and the NAVAIR/Sikorsky CH-53K team.

Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration contract on April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. The new aircraft program is planned to include production of more than 200 new aircraft.

"This IDR meeting reinforced the joint efforts that are keeping the CH-53K helicopter on track to meet its objectives, which include design compliance and verification planning," said Mark Cherry, Sikorsky Vice President, Marine Corps Systems. "We have identified our 'next steps' as the CH-53K helicopter program moves with strength toward production."

Mike Torok, Vice-President and Marine Corps Systems Chief Engineer, added: "These reviews are key steps to ensure the transition from design to build and test of this aircraft proceeds at minimum risk. The CH-53K helicopter is no longer just on paper – we've already started building the aircraft that will fill a critical need for current and future warfighters."

Its predecessor, the three-engine Sikorsky CH-53E SUPER STALLION helicopter, is the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment and to carry external (sling) cargo loads.

The CH-53K helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as the CH-53E aircraft, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "hot high" ambient conditions. The CH-53K helicopter's maximum gross weight (MGW) with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K's MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds as compared to 73,500 for the CH-53E helicopter.

Features of the CH-53K helicopter include: a joint interoperable glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and reduced operation and support costs.

The CH-53K helicopter team has successfully completed several risk reduction initiatives on two critical technologies, the split torque main gear box and the advanced main rotor blade, and is preparing for Technology Readiness Assessment in early 2010. The program conducted a successful Preliminary Design Review in September 2008, and is tracking toward a Critical Design Review in 2010 with an Initial Operational Capability milestone scheduled in early 2016.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


29-01-10, 02:59 AM
U.S. Vertical-Lift Consortium Threatened

Jan 28, 2010

By Guy Norris
San Francisco

Members of the nascent U.S. vertical-lift consortium, being set up at the request of the Defense Dept. to smooth the path for future rotorcraft, want more decision-making and funding specifics before committing to the initiative.

The members, comprising more than 80 entities —from U.S. helicopter primes and engine makers to smaller “nontraditional” contractors, research groups and academia—are expected to sign the pact set to be issued by the Defense Dept. on Jan. 22. It covers setting up an “other transactions agreement” (OTA) that sidesteps most contracting rules to fast-track awarding of research tasks, and initiates a chain of events that, some members say, becomes irrevocable .

The initiative is due to culminate by September with the proposed establishment of a partnership with industry, a newly crafted rotary development strategic plan, and science and technology (S&T) investment strategy, along with a proposal for new resources in the Fiscal 2012-17 budget cycle .

However, some vertical-lift consortium (VLC) members at the American Helicopter Society (AHS) conference in San Francisco are concerned that the initiative, as planned, could actually damage the struggling industry in the long run. AHS Executive Director Rhett Flater also sees the potential for a rift as some—particularly the major primes—indicate a willingness to sign the OTA while others, who are more reluctant to commit, may be compelled to agree for fear of being “left off the team.”

There are plenty who want to be on board, even though nobody knows all the details, he says. The initiative was crafted in response to the urgent military rotorcraft needs exposed by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to a string of such acquisition fiascoes as the RAH-66 Comanche, Armed Reconnaissance , Presidential and Combat Search and Rescue helicopter programs.

Flater argues that the OTA, modeled on similar concepts used in the munitions and robotics industries, does not suit the needs of the more complex, well-established rotorcraft business. In addition, consortium members want to know whom they will be dealing with at the Pentagon after the imminent retirement of Tony Melita, director of land warfare and munitions and the official responsible for the future vertical-lift initiative. “His successor is unknown,” says Flater, who adds that establishing vertical lift under the land warfare and munitions group is likely bad news for the consortium. “Vertical lift will probably not be the No. 1 or even the No. 2 priority,” he observes.

Members here also expressed worry that the Pentagon has not answered key questions about additional funding to support the OTA. Just $110 million in rotary-wing vehicle S&T funds were provided in Fiscal 2009. Of that, 75% came from the Army, and despite earlier comments from Melita that the new process “ultimately will infuse additional resources that wouldn’t have been there before [thanks to] joint planning and higher confidence in execution,” some in the consortium say more recent evidence points toward declining defense budgets .

“Will funds be consolidated from existing agencies such as the Army’s Aero-flightdynamics Directorates, Advanced Technology Directorates, Aviation and Missile Research/Development/Engineering Center, Research Laboratory and the Naval Air Systems Command?” asks Flater. “If the answer is ‘yes ,’ the implications are troublesome. Today’s industry cannot replicate the vital S&T roles played by these institutions.”

Concerns are also being raised that, under the terms of the OTA, future S&T contracts need not be competed, and industry may not be allowed to appeal or protest awards. In common with current Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency practice, contract selection will also be made solely by the Defense Dept.

“Who within [the Defense Dept.] will determine which projects justify funding, and what will be the primary focus of the OTA/VLC initiative? Will it be heavy-lift or multi-role helicopter development? Or will the consortium be asked to undertake technology development and demonstration to be followed by competition for full development and production?” Flater asks.

Criticism is also leveled at the proposed make-up of the government board of directors to oversee the vertical-lift initiative, augmented by elected officials from the consortium representing different sizes of companies. Flater says “the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] will put up one vote . . . , which means they will be outnumbered by the nontraditionals on where the funding goes, developing the technology road map and the S&T plan. The consortium will not be able to block the vote, so what powers will it have?” Melita says this is a deliberate move to broaden the contractor representation. Commenting in November, he said, “I can’t tell them what to do, but I won’t be comfortable with a board of directors with six primes on it.”

Academic and research groups are worried the initiative poses questions about the future of the rotary-wing centers of excellence (RCOE) at Penn State University, University of Maryland and Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as the National Rotorcraft Technology Center (NRTC). Dan Schrage, a Georgia Tech engineering professor, is concerned about university personnel who helped fuel rotorcraft S&T for the past 28 years being shut out. “To sustain advanced multi-disciplinary rotary-wing research, provide competitiveness to U.S. industry and replenish an aging workforce, it is vital to restore funding to the RCOEs,” Schrage says.

Future funding for the NRTC, based at NASA Ames and formed to coordinate basic and applied rotary research as part of an agreement between the U.S. Army, Navy, NASA and FAA, is also uncertain, according to VLC members . “There’s nothing in [the OTA] that flows money down to the universities and NRTC,” says Schrage.

02-02-10, 11:48 AM
Next in military technology: Unmanned Black Hawk?

Sikorsky to invest $1B to develop unmanned Black Hawk, other next-generation maneuvers

By Stephen Singer, AP Business Writer , On Monday February 1, 2010, 4:20 pm EST

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced a billion-dollar venture Monday that it hopes will respond to military demand for technology to fight two wars, including Black Hawk helicopters that can see and fly on their own.

The Stratford-based helicopter maker and military contractor said Sikorsky Innovations is intended to speed the transformation of the mechanical helicopter into a computerized aircraft.

The Black Hawk is a military workhorse, used in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Grenada and Panama. It's also part of military packages sold to other nations and has been used in civilian missions such as rescuing snowbound mountain climbers.

The Black Hawk, used for air assault and medical evacuation, was featured in the book and movie "Black Hawk Down," chronicling a battle in Somalia in 1993 when two helicopters were shot down, killing 18 soldiers.

Some of the deadliest crashes, involving five Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq, killed 51 soldiers between 2003 and 2007. The helicopter is heavily relied upon in Afghanistan, a mountainous nation with long stretches of desert and few decent roads.

"Imagine a vehicle that can double the productivity of the Black Hawk in Iraq and Afghanistan by flying with, at times, a single pilot instead of two, decreasing the workload, decreasing the risk, and at times when the mission is really dull and really dangerous, go it all the way to fully unmanned," Chris Van Buiten, director of Sikorsky Innovations, told an audience of 100 government, university and business representatives Monday.

Unmanned war planes are not new but are drawing interest from commanders trying to reduce casualties while not relenting in combat.

"The new thing here is to apply technologies in small airplanes and rotorcraft to the 20,000-pound Black Hawk," Van Buiten said in an interview. "It ups the stakes."

Sikorsky intends to have a demonstrator model of an unmanned Black Hawk ready this year and introduce it by 2015. An unmanned version could add about $2 million to the current $15 million price tag, but would save money with fewer or no crew members, he said.

Change will not only be technical, but also cultural, Van Buiten said. "Pilots are not going to give up that seat easily," he said in an interview.

Mark Miller, vice president of research and engineering at the subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., said officials want to harness Sikorsky's rapid growth -- revenue and profit have more than doubled over the past five years -- with technological advances that are remaking helicopters.

Sikorsky will design and build an "optionally piloted helicopter" to resupply troops or engage in battle. It will give commanders a choice between operating a Black Hawk with one pilot or two or none.

"We'll let it adapt to the mission," Van Buiten said.

Sikorsky is jumping into a lucrative and growing market. Steven Zaloga, a senior analyst at Teal Group Corp. in Fairfax, Va., said unmanned aerial vehicles represent "one of the few dynamic markets" in the aerospace industry, which was hit hard by the recession.

The Teal Group estimates the global market for unmanned aerial vehicle hardware will rise from $2.9 billion this year to $5.5 billion in 2019, Zaloga said.

Mark Tattershall, director of marketing and business development at Kaman Corp., a Bloomfield, Conn.-based aerospace manufacturer, said Kaman and Lockheed Martin Corp. demonstrated an unmanned cargo helicopter in Utah last week.

"To control something that's within sight is one challenge," he said. "To control something on the other side of a mountain and have it safely put down a load successfully and safely is a big challenge."

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has developed the A160, which is now being tested by the Army and its network of researchers.

Phil Hunt, a program manager at the agency, said challenges include unmanned aircraft seeing and avoiding other aircraft in federally regulated or military airspace and the potential dangers of carrying weapons at the time of a crash.

Sikorsky Innovations, which over 10 years will spend $1 billion from Sikorsky and its customers, also is researching technologies that would vastly increase a helicopter's speed, enable it to use computers to see through dust storms kicked up during takeoffs and landings, and allow it to gather data about its own condition and tailor the performance for quieter and more comfortable rides if necessary.

"We can allow a helicopter to morph itself for each function," Miller said.

04-02-10, 05:24 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

We Need New Rotorcraft ... Now

Posted by Bettina Chavanne at 2/3/2010 9:56 AM CST

Where is our future rotorcraft? A chart from the Naval Aviation Center for Rotorcraft Advancement shows production for every rotary wing platform in the service inventory declining. Aside from the V-22, there is no truly new aircraft being built. (I exempt the Marines' CH-53K super-heavy lifter because although it's new, it's not a clean-sheet design.)

My point is - if the U.S. doesn't get a new design on the drawing board this year, by 2026, we won't have much to work with. All our platforms are getting old. Really old. Which brings me to the Army's Kiowa Warrior. The 0H-58 is an indispensable scout, but with high operational tempo and stress, high loss rates and no new airframes to purchase, the inventory is wearing very thin.

So why isn't the Army in more of a hurry to replace it?

The service has had two failed programs in a row: Comanche and the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. When ARH was canceled in October 2008, the Army hustled to get started again as quickly as possible. Requirements were sent back through the standard process, leadership promised quick analysis of options. And then...

Here we are a year and a half later and the Army has not yet completed its analysis of alternatives. In fact, although leadership said the wrap-up phase of the AOA would be complete this summer, budget officials during the Army budget brief at the Pentagon Feb. 1 said the AOA would not be done until at least April 2011. That means money won't go into the budget until at least Fiscal 2012. Which means a competition, selection and fielding would have a new Armed Aerial Scout (as the Army now calls it) would not fly unti ... 2016?

Another ongoing project that's mired in indecision - the Joint Heavy Lift, or Joint Future Theater Lift aircraft. The Air Force and Army have been bickering about STOL v. Super-STOL v. pure vertical lift. Currently, the JFTL team is waiting on a decision by Pentagon acquisitions chief Ashton Carter that will jump start the AOA process. The AOA will then take about twelve to 18 months, according to officials. And then of course there's the requirements list. Bruce Tenney, associate director of technology at the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate told me in mid-January that they're looking at an aircraft that's "bigger than a C-130J, smaller than an A400M" and can lift between 20-36 tons.

The Department of Defense put rotorcraft at the top of its priority list in the Quadrennial Defense Review. Now it's up to the services to get the acquisitions process revved up and put a new helicopter in the field. Soon.

09-02-10, 12:52 AM
Future Air Force a Lot Like the Present, with Risk

Sunday February 07th 2010, 9:49 pm

HH-60 at Bagram, Afghanistan. Photo by David Axe.


For most of its near-future airplane needs, the U.S. Air Force will buy upgraded versions of current airplanes, according to service officials. The air branch will build gunship, Special Forces and electronic-warfare versions of the C-130J, update its oldest C-17 airlifters and replace today’s HH-60 rescue choppers with newer models of the same helicopter. Only the fighter force will get large numbers of new-design planes, in the form of the F-35A.

This is sound thinking, and echoes what the Navy is doing with its surface fleet and the Army with its helicopter force and tanks. But there’s risk. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz told Air Force Magazine that the HH-60 is “a pretty good airplane. It’s not a perfect rescue airplane, but it can operate at altitude. It’s a resilient airframe. It’s proven.”

The folks who fly HH-60s in Afghanistan might beg to differ. Under-powered for its size and over-burdened with armor and weapons, the HH-60 can’t reach 9,000 feet under normal circumstances. In Afghanistan’s flat, low south, where some HH-60s are based, that’s not a problem. In the mountainous north, even routine rescues can pose huge challenges. For one mountain rescue, the 33rd Rescue Squadron had to strip all the weapons and armor from their aircraft. Luckily, they weren’t hit by enemy fire. If they had been …

Point is, proven weapons are great for budgetary and planning purposes. But if a proven weapon is proven to have deficiencies, continuing to rely on it might save money, and cost lives.

09-02-10, 01:13 AM
Team K-MAX Demonstrates Successful Unmanned Helicopter Cargo Resupply to U.S. Marine Corps

The Unmanned K-MAX launches from the pad with a 1500 lb sling load during contractor flight tests at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, January 2010.

DUGWAY, UT, February 8th, 2010 -- Lockheed Martin Corporation [NYSE: LMT] and Kaman Aerospace Corporation, a subsidiary of Kaman Corporation [NASDAQ GS: KAMN] have successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Marine Corps the capability of the Unmanned K-MAX® helicopter to resupply troops by unmanned helicopter at forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

During a series of flights last week in subfreezing temperatures at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground, UT, the Unmanned K-MAX demonstrated autonomous and remote control flight over both line-of-sight and satellite-based beyond line-of-sight data link.

“We met or exceeded the requirements within the scheduled three-day timeframe of the demonstration,” said Dan Spoor, Aviation Systems vice president at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors facility in Owego, NY. “The system performed a rigorous set of cargo resupply scenarios as programmed, allowing the ground-based operator to monitor progress, and make adjustments to aircraft positioning only when requested by the Marine Corps for demonstration purposes.”

Performance attributes demonstrated included hovering at 12,000 ft. with a 1,500-pound sling load; delivering 3,000 pounds of cargo well within the six-hour required timeframe to a forward operating base (two 150 nm round-trip flights); remotely controlling flight and a precision load delivery by a ground-based operator in both day and night conditions; and uploading a new mission plan to the aircraft’s mission management system during flight.

As an optional demonstration, Team K-MAX showcased the Unmanned K-MAX helicopter’s four-hook carousel, which enables multi-load deliveries in a single flight. Lifting a total cargo of 3,450 pounds, the aircraft flew to three pre-programmed delivery coordinates, autonomously releasing a sling load at each location. At the customer’s request, the fourth load delivery was performed under manual control by the ground operator.

“The Unmanned System performed operationally representative cargo resupply scenarios, and each time the system delivered as promised,” said Sal Bordonaro, President, Kaman Helicopters, a division of Kaman Aerospace Corporation. “This capability gives the Marine Corps a proven unmanned power lifter to bring vital cargo to troops on the battlefield without the need for ground vehicles and manned helicopters.”

Team K-MAX has flown the Unmanned K-MAX nearly 400 hours in unmanned mode since 2007. The demonstration fulfilled an $860,000 U.S. Marine Corps contract awarded to K-MAX manufacturer Kaman Aerospace in August 2009.

A manned version of K-MAX has accumulated more than 250,000 flight hours, conducting repetitive lift operations for the construction and logging industries worldwide.

09-02-10, 01:20 AM
China To Fit Attack Helo With European Engine

By wendell minnick and pierre tran

Published: 7 February 2010

SINGAPORE and PARIS - China is outfitting a new attack helicopter with a European engine despite export restrictions put in place after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The move comes as European officials push hard for lifting restrictions on defense exports to China.

China's new Harbin Z9WE attack helicopter is being outfitted with two Arriel 2C turboshaft engines, according to a brochure distributed by China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. (CATIC) at the 2010 Singapore Airshow.

The Safran Group's Turbomeca firm, which developed the engines, granted licenses for production to China several years ago. Chinese factories have produced more than 200 Arriel 2Cs for use on utility and transport helicopters, a Turbomeca spokeswoman said.

Turbomeca's China business goes back decades. One older engine, the Arriel 1, has been built there under license for more than 30 years. In the past nine years, the Arriel 2B1A has been licensed for installation on the Changhe Z11 utility helicopter, and the Arriel 2C licensed for the H410A military helicopter and its VIP-transport variant, H425, according to the company's Web site.

"All our Turbomeca engines assembled in China have the necessary export approvals," the Turbomeca spokeswoman said.

The Z9WE is an updated version of the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corp.'s Z9G attack helicopter, which flies on a pair of the Chinese-designed WZ8A turboshaft engines.

The new helicopter can carry an assortment of indigenously produced weapons: HJ-8 Red Arrow anti-tank missiles, 57-1 rocket launchers, 23-II cannons and 12.7mm machine guns, "which are enhanced by advanced fire-control system." It also has a sophisticated day/night targeting turret and advanced avionics and mission equipment, the brochure said.

This is not the first time that a Chinese promotional brochure has revealed that a foreign engine is going aboard a military helicopter.

In 2007, a Changhe Aircraft brochure on its then-new Z10 attack helicopters listed the power plant as the PT6C-67C engine manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada. The engine had been diverted from a civilian to a military aircraft.

Privately, U.S. officials are concerned that the civil EC175 medium-lift helicopter, which Eurocopter co-developed with China, could be put to military use.

One U.S. official in Paris noted that Eurocopter armed its EC145 to compete in the U.S. Armed Aerial Scout competition, and that China converted the company's Dauphin helicopter for submarine-hunting missions.

Another example is the Eurocopter EC120 Colibri Hummingbird, a single-engine light helicopter funded by China, France and Singapore and developed by a list of companies that includes CATIC, Eurocopter, Harbin and Singapore Technologies Aerospace. China now produces an HC120 variant of the Hummingbird for military training and police surveillance.

E-mail: wminnick@defensenews.com; ptran@defensenews.com.

11-02-10, 10:49 AM
No New U.S. Navy, Army Helo Programs Funded

Feb 10, 2010

By Bettina H. Chavanne

With nearly $12.5 billion in the proposed U.S. Navy and Army rotorcraft budget for Fiscal 2011, it would seem the services are flush with funding. And yet there is an eerie theme common to the programs receiving dollars: None of them is new.

The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), released Feb. 1 in conjunction with the Fiscal 2011 budget request, puts availability of rotary-wing assets at the top of its list to ensure success in counterinsurgency, stability and counterterrorism operations. The UH-60M Black Hawk is the big winner for the Army, with $1.25 billion requested to sustain production of 74 aircraft. Another $100 million is included for advanced procurement, and two more helicopters are covered under $40.5 million worth of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.

The CH-47F Chinook comprises $1.2 billion of the budget, while the AH-64 Apache would get $494 million for procurement, $93 million for research and development, and an additional $394 million for upgrades and modifications.

What’s missing? A replacement for the replacement for the rapidly aging Kiowa Warrior fleet. The Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program was terminated in October 2008. Since then, the Army has been buried waist-deep in studies meant to pave the way for a new Armed Aerial Scout (AAS). The name change from ARH to AAS stems from the Army’s desire to disassociate from the word “helicopter,” since the service decided to examine all possibilities for armed reconnaissance, including an unmanned or optionally manned platform.

But the studies have yet to be completed. The analysis of alternatives (AOA) that will eventually lead the way to an actual competition for an AAS will not be finished until April 2011, according to a Pentagon budget official. In early January, the Army said the first phase of its AOA was slated for completion this April, with the second phase wrapping up this summer. The nearly one-year slip now means funding for an AAS may not even appear until Fiscal 2012, and prospects for a real platform are even further down the road.

The Navy, too, is relying on old platforms (save for the MV-22 Osprey) modified with major upgrades to sustain its operations. The V-22 procurement budget takes the lion’s share, with $2.8 billion requested for 35 aircraft, five of which go to the Air Force for its Special Operations CV-22. The UH-1Y Huey and AH-1Z Cobra Marine Corps utility and attack helicopters will get $985.5 million under the Fiscal 2011 budget; that will fund two new Cobras, eight remanufactured Cobras and 18 new Hueys, plus three aircraft that fall under $92 million in OCO funding. The MH-60R Romeo and MH-60S Sierra aircraft are in the midst of five-year multiyear procurement contracts. The Navy has requested $588 million for 19 Sierras and $1.16 billion for 24 new Romeos.

The only new aircraft on the horizon for the Navy is the heavy-lift CH-53K, which is still in development. The CH-53K is designed for the Marine Corps and, like all helicopters these days, it is an update of a decades-old airframe.

18-02-10, 11:24 PM
The Muddy Future Of Vertical Lift

Feb 18, 2010

By Bettina H. Chavanne
Stratford, Conn., and NAS Patuxent River, Md.

Riding high on domestic military business, the U.S. rotorcraft industry is looking at the strengthening commercial and international competition and wondering where the technology investment will come from to stay in the game.

At the Heli-Expo 2010 show in Houston on Feb. 20-23, AgustaWestland will talk about its new AW149 tactical transport and planned AWXX9 light twin, while Eurocopter will discuss its new EC175 medium twin and planned Dauphin replacement, code-named X4.

In contrast, U.S. manufacturers will have little new to say. Sikorsky is flying the upgraded S-76D medium twin and its X2 Technology high-speed helicopter demonstrator, while Bell—with partner AgustaWestland—continues the slow pace of BA609 tiltrotor development.

This lack of new products is a concern for industry, and is a consequence of its heavy emphasis on meeting U.S. military requirements.

To avoid a potential shortfall in U.S. rotorcraft capability, the Defense Dept. kicked off a new initiative. Chartered by an Oct. 26 memo from Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter, the Future Vertical Lift industry consortium will build on the congressionally mandated assessment of FVL requirements, to be completed by June. This is intended to produce a technology road map, a science and technology (S&T) investment and implementation plan, and a strategic plan from which the next generation of joint-service rotorcraft will emerge (AW&ST Nov. 30, 2009, p. 26).

“We want to work as partners to create an end-state that hasn’t even been determined yet,” Tony Melita, Pentagon director of land warfare and munitions, and the official formerly responsible for the FVL initiative, told Aviation Week in November. “We want to say this is the vision for the future, here’s the plan that will get us there, and then collectively work to make it happen.”

But at an American Helicopter Society (AHS) conference in San Francisco last month, some of the FVL consortium members expressed concern that the initiative, as planned, could actually damage the industry in the long run. Rhett Flater, AHS executive director, sees the potential for a rift, arguing that the “other transaction agreement” (OTA) set up for the consortium and modeled on similar concepts used in the munitions and robotics industries, does not suit the more complex, well-established rotorcraft business.

Establishing vertical lift under the Pentagon’s land warfare and munitions group is likely bad news for the consortium, he says. “Vertical lift will probably not be the No. 1 or even No. 2 priority.”

Additionally, the flattening defense budget does little to reassure industry that the funding will be there to support the OTA. Rotary-wing S&T funds totaled a mere $110 million in Fiscal 2009, 75% of which came from the U.S. Army.

The other big question that remains: What kind of aircraft will be built? “Will it be heavy-lift or multirole helicopter development?” Flater asks. “Or will the consortium be asked to undertake technology development and demonstration to be followed by competition for full development and production?” While consortium members hash out the finer points of funding, two government entities are puzzling out the platform piece.

The Naval Aviation Center for Rotor*craft Advancement (Nacra), based at NAS Patuxent River, Md., and the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) at Ft. Eustis, Va., are plotting a new course.

“We’re late already for committing resources,” says Doug Isleib, Nacra’s program manager. “We’re late planning for the next generation.” His team recently completed a strategic study that identifies current resources and future gaps. Included in the forecast is a chilling statistic: All rotorcraft production lines go cold in 2025. The window of opportunity for a new start is closing. “Something must happen to keep rotorcraft in flight,” notes the Nacra study. “Are warmed-over, 40-year-old aircraft relevant or capable? Is a generational leap affordable?”

With an eye on answering some of the technology questions, Nacra is slated to receive a new testbed for advanced *rotorcraft technology in April. The first so-called T-Rex (shorthand for Test Bed—Rapid Warfighter Response and Experimentation) will be a UH-1N Huey helicopter. It should be operational by this summer, providing a test platform focused on three areas: digital interoperability, safety and survivability, and total ownership cost.

The Army, meanwhile, has its sights set on a heavy-lift platform, now called Joint Future Theater Lift ( JFTL). An Army-Air Force team is waiting for a go-ahead from Carter to proceed with an analysis of alternatives . The results will influence the choice of platform types suitable for heavy lift. But the list of requirements is long, including joint sea-basing, operational maneuver from the sea, mounted vertical maneuver and aerial sustainment. Whatever form the JFTL takes, it will be “bigger than a C-130 and smaller than an A400M,” with a lifting capacity of 20-36 tons, says Bruce Tenney, associate director of technology at AATD. He cites the quad-tiltrotor design as a possibility. “It’s got some great virtues,” he says, acknowledging the significant size difference between a quad configuration and the only tiltrotor flying today, the V-22 Osprey. “It doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It’s just beyond our current body of knowledge.”

Dave Johnson, a Rand analyst and former Army officer, questions the entire premise of heavy lift. “The real issue is how survivable is a system like this in the threat environments we anticipate.” He has authored several studies examining the Army’s concepts of operations of lift. “The question becomes, are you going to design a helicopter optimized to lift a certain weight independent of the [Army’s new] Ground Combat Vehicle or design to lift the GCV you haven’t designed yet?”

Tenney says JFTL requirements are based on the current fleet of light vehicles and “some definition of what Future Combat Systems was going to be.” The AOA still has to be completed, followed by a technology demonstrator phase that could take up to six years. “There’s a contingent of people who say you can’t build an aircraft this big,” he says. “Through all our technological investigations, we found no fundamental barriers.”

Aside from the biggest barrier of all—money.

Photo: USMC

19-02-10, 02:11 PM
RNZAF's New Helicopter Makes Its First Flight

(Source: New Zealand Government Executive; issued Feb. 17, 2010)

The first of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's five new A109 helicopters has taken to the air in Italy.

"This is part of the major renewal of the Air Force," Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said today. "The A109s are a significant acquisition for the NZDF. This first flight brings them a step closer."

The A109 Light Utility Helicopter is the replacement for the NZDF's current training helicopter, the Sioux. It is a major step up, with twin turbine engines, carrying three crew and up to five passengers, and with a winch. The existing Sioux date from the 1950s and are only useful as basic trainers.

The A109s will be used for training NZDF pilots and helicopter crew for the Air Force's new NH90s and the Navy's Seasprites. They can also carry out a wide variety of light roles, such as moving small groups, carrying light loads and rescue work with the winch.

"These helicopters will be the basis of training our people for helicopter operations. They will also complement the NH90s and Seasprites in other areas, both military and in support of other agencies," Dr Mapp said.

Manufacturer AgustaWestland is scheduled to deliver the first A109 to the Air Force late this year.


22-02-10, 02:14 PM
U.S. State Department to Purchase Sikorsky S-61T Helicopters for Use in Afghanistan

(Source: Sikorsky Aerospace Services; issued February 21, 2010)

HOUSTON --- Sikorsky Aerospace Services announced today at Heli-Expo that the U.S. State Department has entered into an IDIQ (indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity) agreement to purchase up to 110 modernized S-61 aircraft for passenger and cargo transport missions in support of its worldwide operations.

Delivery of the first four modernized S-61 aircraft will support missions for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) is the aftermarket division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The S-61 helicopters are being delivered as part of the Sikorsky S-61T Program, a comprehensive modernization program to upgrade existing S-61/H-3 aircraft to increase performance in high/hot operating conditions. The S-61 helicopter is known as the workhorse of the industry and, for more than 50 years, has reliably and safely performed missions in U.S. and foreign allied militaries. The five-year purchase agreement for the S-61T helicopters will add to the U.S. State Department's worldwide fleet.

"With its rugged endurance, spaciousness and lift capabilities, the Sikorsky S-61 helicopter continues to be one of the most dependable aircraft in the aerospace industry. Its outstanding and durable performance history has given impetus to the S-61T Modernization Program, which builds upon that proud legacy," said David Adler, president of Sikorsky Aerospace Services.

Sikorsky and Pennsylvania-based Carson Helicopters Inc. have launched an exclusive joint upgrade program. The S-61T Modernization Program incorporates key upgrades that include composite main rotor blades, a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and modular wiring harness all of which dramatically improve aircraft supportability. The S-61T helicopter also has been equipped with 1,200 pounds of added lift capability and enhanced speed capacity. Additional features have been incorporated to reduce pilot fatigue and reduced maintenance requirements for increased safety.

Providing an alternative to the Pentagon's current purchase and use of Russian helicopters, Sikorsky's American-made modernized S-61 aircraft is mission-ready now for deployment to Afghanistan and the surrounding regions.

Sikorsky Aerospace Services provides comprehensive support for rotary and fixed wing aircraft around the world. It offers its military and commercial customers a full portfolio of support services. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


22-02-10, 02:24 PM
Sikorsky Innovations Expected to Develop Mission-Adaptive Rotorcraft Under Prospective DARPA Contract with Sikorsky Aircraft

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued February 21, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced today that its Sikorsky Innovations group has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a contract to develop active rotor technologies that will allow aircraft to adapt to a changing environment and dynamically enhance performance. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

Once the DARPA contract is finalized, the project will have three phases starting with a $5.9 million contract for Phase I. This phase will take 16 months and focus on a robust design of the mission-adaptive rotor system, enabling technology development and assessment of the benefits. Phases II and III will be competitively awarded by DARPA at the conclusion of Phase I. Phase II calls for a validation of the design and ground test, while Phase III will entail flight testing.

"Adaptive rotor technologies have the potential to vastly improve performance, and reduce vibration and noise," said Mark Miller, Vice President of Research and Engineering. "With this DARPA contract, Sikorsky Innovations will tackle the challenge of making the helicopter smarter. We are developing the next generation helicopter, an intelligent and adaptive helicopter that can become aware of its surroundings, identify the proximity of a threat, adjust in brownout situations, and respond appropriately."
The program will create new options for the next generation of aircraft and retrofit possibilities for the existing fleet.

The mission of Sikorsky Innovations is to develop and mature the technologies, products and processes that will redefine the future of vertical flight. The organization builds on Sikorsky's nearly 90 years of innovation and will increase the scope of previous efforts by expanding collaborative arrangements spanning government technology agencies, academic institutions, other UTC facilities and entrepreneurial businesses where research and product development will take place in cooperation with Sikorsky's engineers and technicians. Projects are currently under way at more than 20 locations nationwide.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


22-02-10, 09:37 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Sikorsky Spins Up Adaptive Rotor Work

Posted by Graham Warwick at 2/22/2010 8:23 AM CST

Sikorsky is the first to announce it has received a contract under the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's new Mission Adaptive Rotor (MAR) program, but there will be others as this is viewed as one of the most important rotorcraft technology demonstration efforts around.

MAR aims to develop morphing rotor technology that dramatically improves rotorcraft performance while reducing noise and vibration. And by morphing DARPA means changing the rotor's geometery "on the fly". Rotors with actively controlled on-blade flaps have been tested, but MAR will go much further, with options including changing area, chord, camber, twist, tip shape and sweep, even stiffness.

Sikorsky's Innovations group has received a $5.9 million contract for the first of three phases of the program, set to last 16 months and result in a "robust design" for a mission-adaptive rotor system. Phase 2 will involve ground test and Phase 3 flight test of the winning rotor design.

The new rotor system could find an early home on the next major upgrade of the AH-64 Apache or UH-60 Black Hawk, overcoming some of the helicopters' performance limitations seen in operations in the demanding environments of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US Army's Applied Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD), meanwhile, is launching a program to develop the Future Advanced Rotorcraft Drive System (FARDS), for current and future aircraft. The goal is to replace today's heavy, noisey, complex and expensive drive systems and increase aircraft performance.

Specific goals are a 55% increase in transmitted horsepower-to-weight ratio; 18dB reduction in drive-system-generated noise (from 100dB+); 35% reductions in production and operating & support costs; and 90% automatic detection of cirtical mechanical component failures - all relative to year 2000 fielded systems.

FARDS is not a huge program - budgeted at $20.5 million over five years with up to 50% cost sharing by industry - but it is a critical companion to DARPA's MAR and to AATD's already-underway Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) program to develop and demonstrate new 3,000shp-class turboshaft engines.

They lay the foundations for the next iteration in US rotorcraft - perhaps even the next generartion.

25-02-10, 12:04 PM

SOURCE:Flight InternationalAustralia confirms order for seven CH-47F Chinooks

By Leithen Francis

Australia has approved the purchase of seven Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters for A$755 million ($670 million).

The first two helicopters will enter service in 2014 and all seven will be operational by 2017, says the Australian Government. The helicopters will replace the Australian army's six older CH-47D helicopters.

"These new helicopters will give the Australian Defence Force (ADF) a robust, deployable medium-lift helicopter capability out to 2040," says Australia's defence minister John Faulkner.

"While the existing fleet of 'D' model Chinooks had provided outstanding support to the ADF since entering service in 1995, the aircraft faced increasing capability and support issues."

This "second pass approval" comes after Australia said during its 2009 defence white paper that it could buy the CH-47F to augment its army's medium-lift capabilities.

The "F" models offer a range of improvements including a strengthened airframe to reduce fatigue, improved deployability, and digital systems, says the defence ministry. "The new Australian Chinooks will also receive some additional ADF-specific equipment to meet certain operational and safety requirements," adds Faulkner.

Canberra will buy the helicopters and maintain them in the same broad configuration as the US Army Chinooks, "providing enhanced benefits to the ADF in areas including spares, support, training and airworthiness", says the ministry.

"The Government will consider whether to participate in the US Chinook Product Improvement Program when information on this programme is of second pass quality. Participation in this program would align the configuration of Australian Chinooks with future US Army Chinooks," says Faulkner.

25-02-10, 11:07 PM
After all the mucking around it is back to square one almost.

USAF proposes buying 112 UH-60Ms
By Stephen Trimble

The US Air Force has decided to buy 112 Sikorsky UH-60Ms to recapitalise its ageing combat search and rescue fleet, despite a standing requirement for a larger helicopter.

Sikorsky will modify the M-model aircraft to the HH-60L configuration, replacing a fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks that has dwindled to about 101 airframes, says Lt Gen Mark Shackelford, head of USAF acquisition.

The HH-60 represents the current standard for the USAF's SAR mission, in which its crews are tasked to fly deep into enemy territory to retrieve downed airmen. "The new H-60s will be modified to be rescue helicopters, obviously with some tempering of performance," Shackelford says.

© Staff Sgt Aaron Allmon/USAF

In 2006, the USAF signed the CSAR-X contract to buy 141 Boeing HH-47s, selecting the Chinook over the Sikorsky HH-92 and Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland HH-71. But the contract award process became a landmark example of acquisition policy.

The US Government Accountability Office sustained two protests filed by the losing bidders, and the USAF's attempts to restart the competition without heeding its recommendations failed. The service terminated the contract with Boeing in June 2009, clearing the way for a sole-source contract to Sikorsky for the smaller helicopter.

If Congress approves funding for the plan, the USAF will recapitalise its existing fleet, but fall short of plans to broaden the mission with a larger and more capable aircraft.

Under the CSAR-X programme, the USAF envisaged not only rescuing downed airmen, but also picking up small units behind enemy lines, or even ferrying cargo or passengers during natural disasters. That requirement drove it to ask bidders to provide a medium or heavylift helicopter.

The requirement for "personnel recovery" still stands, Shackelford says, and will be addressed by the USAF in the future. But for now it is focused on ensuring that downed aircrews will not lack a helicopter force ready to retrieve them.

"Those [aircraft] are busy fliers in a war and very much sought after," he says.

Links posted in this story: Boeing|CH-47 Chinook|Lockheed Martin|USAF

02-03-10, 02:14 PM
Technology Gives Apache Block III More Lift, Capability, Landing Ability

(Source: US Army; dated Feb. 26, web-posted March 1, 2010)

The U.S. Army is leveraging cutting-edge technologies from its Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to give the Block III Apache aircraft increased power, lift, maneuverability and hard-landing ability, service officials said.

The Army S & T community, a subset of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA ALT), has been developing the Rotorcraft Drive System of the 21st Century (RDS-21) Face Gear Transmission and High Performance Shock Strut (HPSS) advanced landing gear; these technologies are giving the next-generation Apache the ability to buy back performance lost when the aircraft added the extra weight that went along with enhanced mission equipment packages.

"With these technologies, pilots can fly further and carry more ordnance. They can land better under difficult conditions with no damage to the aircraft," said Mac Dinning, team leader for aircraft survivability, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC).

The empty weight of the Apache A model is 10,267 pounds, compared to the 11,800-pound D-model Longbow Apache; the heavier Apache carries significantly improved targeting and sensing capabilities but lacks the transmission-to-power ratio and hard-landing ability of the A model. The Block III Apache is being engineered such that an advanced, high-tech aircraft at the weight of the D model can have the power, performance and landing abilities of an original A model Apache.

"When the Apache was first developed in the mid-70s it had specific operational requirements -- for hard landing and for lift capability to lift a certain payload at a certain vertical rate of climb at forward speed. Over the years we have added a lot of capability to the aircraft in terms of mission equipment packages such as sensors, and all of that has added thousands of pounds of weight to the aircraft. So now the empty weight of the aircraft is much heavier and if we are still going to carry something close to the full weapons capability, we start losing the capability of the landing gear," said Dinning.

"In terms of technologies specific to buying back vehicle performance they had in the A model before adding all of the weight, the RDS-21 gear box and Shock Strut are the two most significant ones to add back capability the Apache had with the A model and lost with the D."

The RDS -21 improves efficiency because the transmission combines the output torque of two engines into a single power torque transmission, Dinning said.

"The RDS-21, with the split torque gear capability, is allowing us at no increase in transmission weight to pass significantly more torque through the transmission up to the router. This gives us the lift capability we need to carry the full weapons and fuel load to get missions done. It is a hardware system that is taking the output torque from two engines and is combining them into a single torque into the shaft of the router," said Dinning.

The RDS-21 technology was transferred to the Apache Program Manager in 2006. Having completed qualification testing, it is slated to enter Low-Rate-Initial-Production this year.

"We are very enthusiastic. The Block III transmission just went through its qualification testing. It is exciting for S&T to transition to a production configuration," Mr. Ming Lau, Chief of the Power Systems Division, Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD).

Shock Strut

The High Performance Shock Strut advanced landing gear -- also entering LRIP this year as part of the Apache Block III aircraft -- gives the aircraft hard landing abilities at a D model empty weight of 12,800-pounds.

The key feature of the HPSS is a variable metered orifice which allows hydraulic fluid to move from one area to another at a controlled rate, Dinning said.

"The technology used on the Shock Strut is a variable metered orifice that allows the aircraft to adjust to the weight load of the aircraft and tailor the deceleration. Typically what happens with hydraulic shocks is there is a load in one end of the shock and it is reacted to by fluid that is prevented from moving from one reservoir to another. With the metered orifice, fluid is able to move from one reservoir to the other at a controlled rate as a function of pressure. You want to control the decelerating force so the aircraft can absorb energy across the airframe," said Dinning.

"Now you have the ability to tailor the deceleration profile to safely land at significantly more weight than we have now. It slowly absorbs the energy and decelerates the aircraft from a certain synch rate to a hard stop."

The HPSS can be retrofitted onto the AH-64D model Apache, service officials said. "The High Performance Shock Strut technology was developed because the basic structural design gross weight of the AH-64D had increased, and therefore the crash performance of the shock struts were no longer optimal," said Bryan Pilati, Aerospace Engineer (AATD). "The HPSS is a new valve design qualified as a retrofit solution to the current shock strut. This technology restores the crash performance of the second stage to its original performance requirements."


02-03-10, 02:17 PM
Search And Rescue: Another Blow to U.S. Air Power?

(Source: Lexington Institute; issued March 1, 2010)

(© Lexington Institute; reproduced by permission)

The U.S. Air Force is at the lowest ebb in its 73-year history. Although its capabilities still far surpass those of other air services around the world, it is gradually using up the arsenal it acquired during the closing days of the Cold War.

Over the last five years, the Air Force has seen its next-generation F-22 air superiority fighter terminated at less than half the required number, its next-generation bomber delayed by over a decade, and its plan to replace airborne surveillance planes canceled. Planners also want to end production of the service's admired C-17 cargo jet at a mere 222 planes, even though the oldest C-17s will soon reach the end of their design lives and there is no chance of building something else.

You'd think at this point policymakers would be ready to train their sights on some other hapless victim of "rebalancing," but no such luck. Two articles in the defense trade press last week signaled that the next blow to U.S. air power will be aimed at the Air Force's search and rescue community, which for decades has led the joint force in retrieving downed pilots and other endangered personnel from harm's way.

The need for agile rotorcraft and highly trained personnel who can survive in hostile airspace to save warfighters at risk used to be deemed so important that it was rated the Air Force's number-two modernization priority, second only to replacement of decrepit Eisenhower-era tankers. But apparently the rescue of lost soldiers and airmen doesn't command the constituency it once did, because both articles indicated service leaders are moving to embrace the least capable option.

The first article, written by Stephen Trimble of Flight International, said "The Air Force has decided to buy 112 Sikorsky UH-60Ms to recapitalise its ageing combat search and rescue fleet, despite a standing requirement for a larger helicopter." Trimble attributed this information to the service's senior uniform acquisition executive, Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford.

A second article appearing two days later by Marcus Weisgerber of Inside the Air Force cited Shackelford as saying no final decisions had been made on what would replace existing HH-60G search and rescue helicopters, but "it could be new H-60s modified to be rescue helicopters." Weisgerber noted that the search and rescue fleet had dwindled to so few flyable helicopters that the service was already buying new H-60s in 2010 and requesting six more in 2011 as replacements, but he described that as a temporary solution. Weisgerber quoted Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz endorsing an "off-the-shelf" solution acquired in the smallest feasible quantity, "given our resource constraints."

Clearly, Air Force plans are trending away from the more capable alternatives considered only a few years ago, when Boeing's HH-47 Chinook was selected in a three-way competition with the AgustaWestland EH-101 and Sikorsky H-92. That decision was later overturned because the Government Accountability Office questioned the way life-cycle costs had been calculated, but then defense secretary Robert Gates canceled the effort, putting the future of the whole mission area in doubt.

What's so odd about this process is that an "analysis of alternatives" conducted by the Air Force in 2002 cast doubt on the suitability of the H-60 for the mission given crew workloads, lack of defensive features, and other deficiencies. More recently, the Joint Forces Command re-validated requirements for a new search and rescue airframe in higher numbers than the Air Force is now apparently planning.

One thing is clear, though: the H-60s the service is contemplating buying are far inferior to HH-47, EH-101 and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor alternatives that are readily available.

So unless something changes, this looks like yet another mission area where the Air Force is losing altitude fast.


03-03-10, 02:55 PM

SOURCE:Flight InternationalBritish Army to extend Lynx upgrade, review training system

By Craig Hoyle

The British Army's remaining Lynx AH9 utility helicopters will be modified to AgustaWestland's improved AH9A configuration, following the recent receipt of Ministry of Defence approval to extend the effort to all 22 aircraft.

AgustaWestland late in 2009 delivered the first four of 12 Lynxes to be upgraded under an urgent operational requirement deal to support operations in Afghanistan, and said discussions were under way on an option to also adapt the service's additional 10 AH9 airframes.

"There has been a recent endorsement for all 22 AH9s to be upgraded, and for the out-of-service date to be extended to 2016," says Lt Col David Meyer, commanding officer of 7 (Training) Regiment at the School of Army Aviation at Middle Wallop, Hampshire.

© AgustaWestland

AgustaWestland confirms: “The AH9A follow-on contract is likely to be this month.”

Now equipped with more powerful Honeywell/Rolls-Royce LHTEC CTS800-4N engines, hybrid analogue/digital cockpits and secure communications equipment, the army's first AH9As will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.

The modified type will be capable of operating under the hot weather conditions experienced in the country between May and September, unlike the baseline AH9 model.

Lynx pilots will undergo a 5h conversion course before operating the AH9A, plus seven weeks of specific training on the type.

Meanwhile, Meyer told IQPC's Military Flight Training conference in London that the army intends to overhaul its current training system to better prepare aircrew to operate its Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopters and next-generation Lynx Wildcats.

"Our frontline types are outstripping the training fleet, and we need to close that gap," he says. The service also wants to address its current "disparate and broken" training model, which uses three separate locations, and move to all-rotary instruction, he adds.

After receiving basic fixed-wing instruction, British Army pilots undergo initial rotorcraft training using the UK Defence Helicopter Flying School's single-engined Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel HT2s. But Meyer says the demands of operating types such as the Apache and Lynx Wildcat mean that training is "not about sticks and poles anymore".

07-03-10, 04:17 AM
Spec Ops Needs Faster Helos

Mar 5, 2010

By Richard Whittle
Arlington, Va.

The Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is feeling the need for speed to contend with the sprawl of Afghanistan, the unit’s commander, Col. Clay Hutmacher, told an Assn. of the U.S. Army aviation symposium here in January.

The “Night Stalkers”—so-called because most of their missions are flown in darkness—conduct raids to capture or kill enemy leadership. Flying from Bagram AB often puts their MH-6 Little Bird, MH-60 Black Hawk and MH-47 Chinook troop-carrying helicopters 2 hr. from targets. “We’re looking to go farther and faster and carry more stuff,” Hutmacher said.

The top cruising speed for military helicopters is usually 150-160 kt. One reason is the aerodynamic phenomenon of “retreating blade stall.” The only operational rotorcraft that overcomes it is the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, flown by the Marines and Air Force Special Operations Command. By tilting its wingtip rotors forward after taking off vertically and flying like an airplane, the Osprey escapes retreating blade stall to cruise at around 250 kt. and fly farther, unrefueled, than helicopters. Hutmacher, though, said the V-22 doesn’t seem to be the answer for the 160th because it can’t hover as well as most helicopters.

“Above 4,000 ft., there’s a significant [hovering] limitation on the V-22,” he said. Tiltrotor engineers concede that while the V-22 hovers well in many situations, the special twist and size of its “proprotors” leave it unable to carry as much useful load pound-for-pound as most helicopters hovering in similar conditions.

“I’m not disparaging the V-22,” Hutmacher said. Hovering ability, however, is critical to the 160th, because “at the end of the day, our mission is going to terminate in a hover.”

Two technologies Hutmacher has seen might provide faster rotorcraft: Piasecki Aircraft Corp.’s X-49A SpeedHawk and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 technology. Both are “compound helicopters,” which have an extra means of forward thrust. Compounds have been tried for decades but none has gone into production, partly because the weight of the additional gear used for extra thrust tended to cut into range and payload. Another problem is the dramatic increase in drag a helicopter’s rotor and rotorhead create as speed increases.

Piasecki and Sikorsky say they’ve solved the retreating blade stall and drag problems. The Army, however, has no plan to develop SpeedHawk or X2 technology, and neither will be ready for years in any event.

The SpeedHawk, a modified Sikorsky SH-60F Sea Hawk with a vectored-thrust, ducted propeller on its tail for forward propulsion, might make it first. Piasecki is developing SpeedHawk on an Army R&D contract. If the military funded a program to put SpeedHawk technology on Black Hawks, “you could transition this technology within five years,” says John Piasecki, president.

The aircraft has a small wing that provides lift so the rotor doesn’t have to provide it all. That delays the onset of retreating blade stall, Piasecki said, and its propeller allows the SpeedHawk to fly forward in level attitude, rather than having to pitch its nose down. Those features, coupled with a rotorhead fairing, he said, significantly reduce high-speed drag.

The sole SpeedHawk demonstrator has flown 86 hr., reaching 180 kt. indicated airspeed, a limit imposed by the Navy because the aircraft is a modified Sea Hawk. Pending a waiver of that limit, more funding and modifications to the aircraft, Piasecki hopes to soon reach 215 kt. Applying the technology to a new design could produce a helicopter capable of 270 kt. or more, he ventures.

Sikorsky’s X2 technology combines two coaxial rotors with an 80-in.-dia. pusher propeller. The coaxial rotors delay retreating blade stall by rotating in opposite directions, eliminating the need to raise the pitch on a blade as it retreats and meets less lift-assisting relative wind. The advancing blades of each rotor create lift in balance, says Chief X2 Engineer Steve Weiner, making it unnecessary to add pitch to retreating blades. Fairings on both rotor hubs and a sleek body hold drag to acceptable levels, Weiner adds.

The X2 demonstrator, which was built on a specially designed airframe, has flown only 6.2 hr. and no faster than 106 kt., but Sikorsky plans to take it to 250 kt. this summer. Sikorsky is funding the project, says Program Manager Jim Kagdis, and has no restrictions on reaching its goals if the technology performs as expected. Even so, X2 technology won’t be ready for prime time before 2018.

Photo: Piasecki

A couple of nice videos, one of the testing of the Speedhawk and one an animation of a fire-fighting variant called Firebrand interesting for the reduced-size of the rear ducted fan.......................

09-03-10, 01:52 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Sikorsky's Cyclone Touches Down in Canada

Posted by Graham Warwick at 3/8/2010 4:23 PM CST

Sikrosky's prototype CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter, under development for the Canadian Forces, has arrived at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia, for several weeks of "ship helicopter operational limits" trials with the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montreal. Shearwater is the home of 12 Wing, which will operate the Cyclones.

Photo: Sikorsky

It's an outward sign of progress in a program Sikorsky has said little about publicly since development delays forced it to renegotiate its contract with the Canadian government. This delayed first delivery two years, to November this year, with the first 19 of the 28 Cyclones to be delivered in an interim standard that, while not fully compliant with the contract, will allow operational testing and training to begin.

Fully capable CH-148s are to be delivered beginning in June 2012, with all interim-standard helicopters to be retrofitted by 2013. The Cyclones will replace Canada's long-serving CH-124 Sea Kings, which entered service in 1963. Planning for replacement of the Sea Kings began in 1977, and along the way included buying 42 EH101s to replace both the CH-124s and CH-113 Labrador SAR helicopters - then canceling them.

Photo: Sikorsky

The CH-148 is a shipborne derivative of Sikorsky's commercial S-92, with fly-by-wire flight controls, automatic blade and tail fold and an anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare mission system being integrated by General Dynamics Canada. The Cyclone prototype now at Shearwater, aircraft 801, first flew in November 2008.

12-03-10, 03:15 AM
South Korea's Utility Helo Makes Maiden Flight


Published: 11 Mar 2010 12:06

SEOUL - The first prototype of the Surion utility helicopter, co-developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter, successfully completed its first flight March 10, about seven months after its rollout, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced.

The 30-minute flight took place at an air base in Sacheon, some 430 kilometers (about 265 miles) southeast of Seoul, before a crowd of about 160 guests, the agency said in a news release.

Two test pilots and an engineer maneuvered the 8.7-metric-ton aircraft through taxi, hover and hover turns. The helicopter performed a stationary hover at 30 feet, the release said.

"The Surion will be test-flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet and a cruising speed of 140 knots by April," a DAPA spokesman said. "A full-scale flight test will begin in May before initial production in late 2010."

Under the Korea Utility Helicopter (KUH) program that began in 2006, South Korea plans to produce 245 troop-carrying helicopters to replace aging UH-1H and MD 500 helicopters.

In June 2006, KAI and Eurocopter inked a 1.3 trillion-won ($1.1 billion) research-and-development contract, Seoul's biggest arms deal ever with a non-U.S. company. A production contract worth about 4.4 trillion won is expected to be signed around 2011.

The companies plan to set up a joint venture company to market the KUH globally.

The Surion has a top speed of 240 kilometers per hour and can carry two pilots and 11 troops, according to KAI. It can hover at 9,258 feet with a climbing speed of 500 feet per minute and stay in the air well over two hours.

The helicopter also features a four-axis digital automatic flight-control system and a cockpit with multifunctional liquid crystal displays.

Survivability gear includes laser warning receivers, a missile warning system, chaff and flare dispensers, and an electronic warfare system.

This first video is a presentation by the manufacturer...........slow to start so be patient and its in Korean!

Second brief video shows the helicopter lifting off and hovering...............nothing else!

12-03-10, 06:59 AM
Is it me or does that thing seem to have a profile very similar to the Hip-2?

16-03-10, 04:30 AM
You could say it follows a lot of designs, reminds me more of the Puma personally.............this is the Korean helo.......

16-03-10, 11:13 AM
Puma was my first thought as well.

16-03-10, 05:18 PM

SOURCE:Flight InternationalPICTURES: Korea Utility Helicopter makes first flight

By Leithen Francis

Korea Aerospace Industries has conducted the first flight of its Korea Utility Helicopter (KUH), which it developed with Eurocopter.

Also known as the Surion, the KUH achieved the milestone on 10 March at an airbase in Sacheon, south-east of Seoul.

Two test pilots and an engineer manoeuvred the 8.7t aircraft through taxi, hover and hover turns, says KAI. The aircraft also performed a stationary hover at 30ft (9.1m), it adds.

Full-scale flight testing will start in May, with production of the transport due to start late this year. The new model is designed to replace South Korea's ageing Bell UH-1Hs and MD Helicopters MD500s.

KAI and Eurocopter have also formed a joint-venture to market the KUH overseas. The aircraft can carry two pilots and up to 11 troops, and has a top speed of 130kt (240km/h).

17-03-10, 03:27 AM
You could say it follows a lot of designs, reminds me more of the Puma personally.............this is the Korean helo.......

yeah true, was kinda thinking that as well as the top vid shows more of a side shot (in the preview pic that is) whereas the second vid has a front quarter shot which makes it seem a lot shorter.

17-03-10, 04:19 PM
How long before UH-72 gets militarized?

By Stephen Trimble on March 4, 2010 3:22 AM

Early tomorrow I board an airplane to Columbus, Mississippi. A proud community, Columbus boasts the birthplace of playwright Tennessee Williams and the world's largest toilet seat factory. It also happens to be the manufacturing home of the UH-72 Lakota, a beachhead for EADS' North American expansion.

I'm going down south because EADS has invited journalists to attend a ceremony tomorrow morning marking the 100th UH-72 Lakota delivery to the US Army. (It doesn't hurt that EADS North America CEO Sean O'Keefe will also be there, and my colleagues and I have a few questions to ask him about a certain tanker competition.)

But I also want to know something about the UH-72 program. Few helicopter contracts awarded over the last decade have been so successful. EADS has delivered all 100 UH-72s on time and on budget, which is so unusual that it's almost newsworthy. Alas, the achievement comes with an asterisk. The UH-72 remains the only non-training helicopter in the Army's inventory that can't be deployed into a combat zone.

In an attempt to save money and speed up a replacement for the UH-1 Huey, the army didn't ask for a militarized helicopter.

More than two years ago, an EADS executive told me it's only a matter of time before the army reconsiders the militarization requirement. In the meantime, EADS has teamed up with Lockheed Martin to adapt the UH-72's civilian airframe -- the EC145 -- into the armed and militarized AS645 scout helicopter.

Few armies have the luxury to operate a fleet of hundreds of non-combat-ready helicopters. It remains to be seen whether the US Army will stay as the outlier -- or will finally militarize the Huey's successor.

17-03-10, 04:24 PM
EADS UH-72 shows how 'green fields' can work

By Stephen Trimble on March 5, 2010 1:54 PM

The US Army received its 100th UH-72 Lakota yesterday with an atypically lavish delivery ceremony. Dignitaries gathered inside the EADS North America hangar on the outskirts of Columbus, Mississippi, included Governor Haley Barber and even his wife. A real Lakota Indian chief attended (er, with apologies to General Custer), and he fully endorsed his tribe's namesake helicopter. Piles of fried catfish were served up after the ceremony -- this is, after all, Mississippi.

But who could blame the army for wanting to celebrate a little?

One former officer was overheard afterward noting an astonishing fact. No new helicopter series ordered by the army had reached the 100-aircraft delivery mark in more than 20 years. Also, not least, the ceremony occurred exactly on schedule -- and for the price the army originally agreed to pay! In my decade of aerospace industry coverage, I can think of only one other major program managing this elusive trick. Take a bow, Boeing EA-18G Growler.

Unlike Boeing's Growler program, EADS had the advantage of delivering a helicopter that is limited to civilian airspace. The UH-72 is not certificated or designed to operate in combat. As I noted yesterday, that puts an asterisk on the UH-72 achievement.

But EADS still faced a big challenge, and one that has proved perilous for several aerospace companies. EADS has delivered all 100 UH-72s from a "green-field" factory. Where a planned 53 UH-72s will be built this year, there was literally a green field in the Eastern Mississippi flatlands four years ago. The Columbus area now boasts a micro-aersopace cluster, including EADS, Aurora Flight Sciences and Stark Aerospace. But there was hardly any aerospace industry presence in the area when EADS moved here in late 2006.

Building a successful green field site is not a trivial accomplishment. If Northrop Grumman/EADS North America win the KC-X contract, or a share of it, Airbus must replicate that success and stand up an A330-200 final assembly site in Mobile, Alabama.

How did EADS manage this feat?

The UH-72 experience reveals a patient, three-phase approach that heavily leveraged Eurocopter's existing assembly line in Germany. Only now, in fact, are UH-72s being fully produced at Columbus, with nearly one-third of the army's projected deliveries complete.

Eurocopter first established a "light assembly line", which covered the first 40 aircraft. These aircraft were fully assembled in Germany, shipped to the US and customized for the army customer. The second phase began in mid-2008. EADS opened a "full assembly line" in Columbus. Germany still assembled the airframe and installed the wiring harnesses, but Columbus added the avionics and mechanical systems. Starting in October 2009, EADS launched a full-up production line in Columbus. The first aircraft completely built in Mississippi will be delivered in a couple of months, which is slightly behind the schedule EADS gave me in September 2007.

21-03-10, 02:40 AM

SOURCE:Flight International - PICTURES: A109 makes first flight for RNZAF

By Peter Clark

New Zealand's first A109 training helicopter should enter developmental test and evaluation in late March, having made its maiden flight from AgustaWestland's Vergiate plant in Italy in February.

To replace its aged Bell Sioux trainers, the Royal New Zealand Air Force's eventual fleet of five winch-equipped A109s will be used to instruct pilots and aircrew for its NH Industries NH90 transports and the navy's Kaman Aerospace SH-2G Seasprites.

© Royal New Zealand Air Force

The first aircraft will be delivered to New Zealand late this year and will enter service at RNZAF Base Ohakea during 2011. A simulator for the A109 will arrive next year, and a virtual interactive procedural trainer is already in use at Ohakea.

Powered by two turbine engines, the A109 can carry three crew and up to five passengers.

© Royal New Zealand Air Force

23-03-10, 05:54 AM
New Chinook CH-47 Helicopters

(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued March 20, 2010)

Greg Combet, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, today announced the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has signed a contract with the US Army Security Assistance Command to acquire seven CH-47F Chinook helicopters, two Simulators and associated spares.

“The aircraft will replace the existing fleet of six CH-47D Chinooks operated by C Squadron of the 5th Aviation Regiment based in Townsville, and the first two aircraft are planned to enter service in 2014, with all seven in service by 2017,” Mr Combet said.

“The CH-47D fleet is providing outstanding support to the ADF, particularly in Afghanistan, and this acquisition of seven new CH-47F Chinook helicopters by the Australian Government will strengthen our ability to support our soldiers in the future.

“The CH-47Fs purchased for the Australian Defence Force are planned to incorporate some minor Australian specific mission equipment enhancements including crashworthy crew and passenger seating, fitment of Miniguns, and underfloor ballistic protection.

“However, the primary aircraft elements will remain consistent with the US Army fleet so we can leverage the benefits of their large fleet for engineering and other support.

“The contract to procure the aircraft through the US Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme was signed at a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Washington on Friday 19 March. It follows Government approval of Project AIR 9000 Phase 5C announced by the Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, on 25 February 2010.

“Australian industry will have the opportunity to incorporate the Australian specific enhancements and to support the new helicopters as part of through-life support arrangements,” Mr Combet said.

The contract was valued at $513.5million.


24-03-10, 03:28 AM
Sikorsky CH-53K Gets Special Treatment

Mar 23, 2010

By Bettina H. Chavanne

When Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. changed its outsourcing strategy on the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter, it decided to design and manufacture five of the most complicated rotor parts and gearbox housings in-house. But an aircraft of that size needs space—a lot of space. So Sikorsky carved out a high-tech area in the factory to welcome the newest member of the fleet.

The size and complexity of the aircraft is in the numbers: 330,000 lb. of titanium for the program, five-axis machining centers that will create a 900-lb. rotor hub from a raw titanium part weighing 2,450 lb., automated machining stations with 360 cutting tools . . . and the list goes on. On Jan. 22, Sikorsky opened the doors to its Precision Components Technology Center. “We justified the center based on the [requirements of the] CH-53K, but the idea was to have a place where we could [also] develop new products,” says Brian DeBlasi, Sikorsky’s manager of new product development.

The company has divided its plant into cells, each devoted to a very specific building or machining task. “There was no way to get into the cells to make new product” without disrupting the current workflow, explains DeBlasi, “And the CH-53K is larger than anything we’ve ever built.”

The main rotor hub is 66 in. in diameter and arrives at Sikorsky as a raw, unmachined, 2,450-lb part. The first milling operation machines the hub down to 960 lb. Sikorsky chose the equipment for the Precision Components Technology Center “for torque,” says DeBlasi. The machines are almost as elaborate as the parts they are crafting. One holds 360 different cutting tools, which is twice the number in the largest machine in operation today at Sikorsky.

There are seven main rotor sleeves on the hub, six with different configurations, twisted at angles to accommodate blade fold. A single rotor sleeve weighs 700 lb. in raw forging form, which is then milled down to 450 lb. The CH-53K rotor sleeve is actually three integrated parts: the sleeve, the horn and the damper attachment. “Some people thought we were crazy” to do it this way, says DeBlasi. “I said we need to take the challenge. We had threading problems on all our designs with horn attachments. We got rid of those problems.”

Another way of accommodating complexity was to design the parts around the process, rather than doing the reverse. “We developed complex parts to run through the process we put in place in this center,” says DeBlasi. In the past, “we were always constrained by design.” With the CH-53K, however, “all geometry is based on how we will manufacture [the part].” The anticipated result is a development process that runs more smoothly “than we typically have experienced in the past,” he adds. An in-house integrated product team comprising designers and engineers streamlined the process.

“Our vision was to align manufacturing against our business objectives,” says Mark Cherry, Sikorsky’s vice president for Marine Corps programs. “The size and scale [of the CH-53K] drive the need for the center.”

Photo: US Navy

24-03-10, 10:24 AM
2,450 pounds of titanium machined down to 900 pounds, thats a frak lot of very expensive wastage.

25-03-10, 01:40 AM
2,450 pounds of titanium machined down to 900 pounds, thats a frak lot of very expensive wastage.

NOT unusual for Aviation or Vehicle industries where water jets are used..............

25-03-10, 01:41 AM
Military Helicopters May Get Gunshot Location System

By Nathan Hodge March 24, 2010 | 4:49 pm

Military helicopters have sophisticated electronic countermeasures to detect and defend against surface-to-air missiles, by jamming or fooling the seekers that guide the missiles to target. Now the Pentagon’s far-out research arm wants to take things a step further, by protecting against unguided — but equally dangerous — small arms fire.

In testimony yesterday, Regina Dugan, the new head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, described a new acoustic sensor the agency was developing to alert aircrews to ground fire.

The system — called HALTT, for Helicopter Alert and Threat Termination — is a hostile-fire indicator that would give the pilot a warning of attack, and pinpoint its origin. It would work by detecting the distinct acoustic signature (or “crack”) of a bullet as it passes through the air. It would then indicate the shooter’s position. HALTT, Dugan said, “would make it very dangerous to shoot at U.S. forces — because the first shot may very well be the adversary’s last.”

Dugan also gave an interesting statistic: Incoming small arms fire, she said, accounted for 85 percent of hostile engagements against helos. A prototype of the system has been installed on an Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and Dugan said the military was planning to deploy several systems to Afghanistan for real-world evaluation.

Gunshot location systems like Boomerang are already in service on some military vehicles. Integrating this system on an aircraft represents a logical — and rapid — next step. Dugan said: “From funding allocation to live fire test completion, this effort took an unprecedented 5 months and will be fielded in less than a year from identification of the need.”

[PHOTO: U.S. Department of Defense]

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/03/military-helicopters-may-get-gunshot-location-system/#more-23398#ixzz0j8lfA13r

25-03-10, 05:13 PM
2,450 pounds of titanium machined down to 900 pounds, thats a frak lot of very expensive wastage.

Bear in mind though that most of that won't be wasted - it'll probably get collected, sold, melted down and potentially purchased again to come back as another solid block.

As bug says too, not all that unusual. As I understand it, you make the irregular shaped structures strong by having them 'carved' as it were from a solid block. :)

26-03-10, 03:35 PM
A “Walkaround” of the Search And Rescue EC175

(Source: Eurocopter; issued March 23, 2010)

Eurocopter exhibited a mock-up of the Search And Rescue variant of its new EC 175 helicopter at the Heli-Expo convention in Houston, Texas.

Eurocopter is evaluating the positive feedback for its SAR (search and rescue) version of the new multi-role EC175 helicopter, which was shown as a concept demonstrator at the recent Heli-Expo 2010 convention in Houston, Texas.

Features of the EC175 for SAR missions include the helicopter’s voluminous main cabin and rear cargo storage area, its large doors on each side, oversized bubble observer windows, and highly capable automatic flight control system – which is evolved from the proven AFCS on Eurocopter’s EC225.

The full-scale EC175 mockup at Heli-Expo 2010 was outfitted with mission equipment for the search and rescue role, including bubble windows, a chin-mounted electro-optic sensor turret, under-fuselage radome, SAR operator’s console, cabin-mounted medical equipment and external winch. A side-mounted searchlight, along with up to six under-fuselage lights, provide area illumination, which are completed by main- and tail-rotor lighting for use when maneuvering near obstacles.

The EC175 was conceived as a robust, cost-effective workhorse helicopter in the 7-metric-ton weight category. It has the largest useful volume and payload – as well as the highest performance and range – in its class. Eurocopter’s first EC175 performed its maiden flight last December, with certification planned in 2011 followed by initial deliveries in 2012.

Wide, hydraulically-assisted siding doors on each side of the EC175’s fuselage – combined with its unobstructed, flat-floored main cabin – provide easy access for a full range of operations. For its Heli-Expo debut in the SAR configuration, the full-scale EC175 mockup’s cabin was outfitted with a basic complement of medical equipment on the sidewall, plus a litter on a specialized secure floor mounting.

The cabin’s overhead LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is compatible with night vision goggles. Behind the removable, stowable seats on the rear bulkhead is the helicopter’s 83 cu. ft. (2.35 sq. meter) cargo compartment. Safety features of the EC175 include oversized front and aft emergency flotation gear that can remain fully armed in flight, along with deployable life rafts that are integrated in the step sponsons on each side of the aircraft.

In the concept layout shown at Heli-Expo 2010, the EC175’s forward cabin has a seat for the operator, along with two other seats for crewmembers – all of which can slide along rails and swivel. The representative operator’s console in the EC175 mockup at Heli-Expo 2010 included a large touch screen for the display of data from the external turret’s electro-optic sensors and the radar – all of which can be overlaid on maps.

Large bubble windows located on both sides of the main cabin provide excellent visibility in all directions – including under the helicopter – and are large enough to accommodate night vision goggles. The console operator’s seat can swivel into a side-looking position aligned with the adjacent bubble widow. On the EC175 mockup, the large window sill incorporates a communications box for the console operator, but alternatives include leaving this area clear as an arm rest during searches.

In the Heli Expo concept configuration, a turret with large sensor ball is installed under the EC175’s streamlined nose. Behind it is an underfuselage radome for a 360-deg. radar. Various options and combinations of electro-optics and radars will be available that offer 360 deg. coverage, increased ground clearance, and choices of radar performance. Large cockpit windscreens, plus side and chin windows, provide excellent visibility in all flight modes for the pilots.

The EC175’s glass cockpit is fitted with four 6 X 8-inch multi-function LCD displays, along with a large central mission display. The overhead area above the pilots is cleared of all switches and circuit breakers, which have been moved to the main pedestal – improving ergonomics and safety. Included in the EC175’s avionics suite is a four-axis duplex autopilot, which provides high precision and stability for automatic transitions to hover, and enables search modes to be entered from any flight configuration.


30-03-10, 01:11 AM
Lynx Upgrade To Afghanistan Next Month

Mar 29, 2010

By Douglas Barrie

The first upgraded Lynx Mk9A helicopters will deploy to Afghanistan in April, with — as expected — the British Defense Ministry deciding to modify the remainder of its Mk9 fleet to the same standard.

The ministry awarded AgustaWestland a £41.8 million ($62.1 million) follow-on contract to modify a further 10 Lynx Mk9s to the 9A standard. The ministry contracted for 12 Mk9As at the end of 2008 through an urgent operational requirement. Delivery of the modified aircraft to the Army Air Corps (AAC) began at the end of last year.

The Mk9A standard replaces the Rolls-Royce Gem 42 turboshaft with the LHTEC CTS-800-4N providing the helicopter with an improved performance, particularly in a hot and high environment.

When introduced into theater next month, the Lynx Mk9A will be used in the patrol, support helicopter escort, reconnaissance and surveillance, and the movement of personnel roles, according to the Defense Ministry.

The Mk9A modification requires a new rear airframe and top deck structure, as a well as changes to the main rotor gear box. Digital displays are introduced in the cockpit. The Mk9A is also fitted with a 0.5-inch gun.

The seventh Mk9A was handed over to the AAC during a ceremony at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil site in England March 26.

“The Regiment has been training with the upgraded aircraft for some months and can confirm that it represents a considerable improvement in performance over its predecessor,” said Lt. Col. Mike McGinty, the commanding cfficer of 9 Regiment AAC. “Training in hot and high conditions in Kenya has proved that it really does what it says on the tin. We anticipate that it will be a very valuable asset on operations against the insurgents in Afghanistan.”

31-03-10, 08:01 AM
India's Indigenous Light Combat Helicopter takes 1st flight

NDTV Correspondent, Tuesday March 30, 2010, New Delhi

India's indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has flown for the first time. The helicopter, which was test-flown on Monday, successfully hovered for 15 minutes.

The LCH is based on technologies developed for India's Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter.

The LCH will be equipped with missiles in addition to its nose-mounted cannon. It will be able to take out tanks and other armoured vehicles in addition to giving battlefield support to Indian military formations.

02-04-10, 12:51 AM
Marine CH-53K Faces Multiyear Slide

Apr 1, 2010

By Bettina H. Chavanne

The first flight of the U.S. Marine Corps’ heavy lifter CH-53K helicopter has slipped two years to 2013, while its initial operational capability (IOC) has slid three years to 2018, officials have confirmed to AVIATION WEEK.

The date slips come as no surprise to the Marines and the CH-53K program office at Naval Air Systems Command (Navair). In January 2009, program manager Capt. Rick Muldoon submitted a Program Deviation Report for the aircraft’s critical design review (CDR) to the Pentagon acquisition headquarters. The CDR is now slated for September, representing a year’s delay.

“The FY ’18 IOC was directly tied to the [FY ’11] presidential budget,” Muldoon tells Aviation Week. The Marines had been hesitant to reveal new program milestone dates until the budget was finalized. “I needed to know the funding profile” prior to confirming a new plan for the aircraft, Muldoon says. “We’re delivering to the current execution schedule we laid in place, which ties in nicely to the FY ’18 IOC.”

Muldoon says the original CH-53K schedule was “overly aggressive.” The push to 2018 allows more time for manufacturer Sikorsky, the Navy and Marines to achieve the right technical maturity on all the aircraft systems. Muldoon says the date also dovetails better with the Navy’s 2014 future budget consideration of the CH-53K for its own heavy-lift needs. And it will help provide a full-rate production aircraft for pitching to prospective international customers.

This coming fall, Navair will perform a contract modification and revised acquisition program baseline. “This is not a do-over of the contract,” he says. “We’re just continuing to do as we always do … As we make changes we determine the scope and make appropriate modifications.”

Photo: US Navy

30-04-10, 11:48 AM
Why Are Marines Slowing CH-53K?

By Craig Hooper Thursday, April 29th, 2010 3:16 pm

The heavy-lift CH-53K helicopter was, until earlier this month, an outstanding example of procurement done right. But now—with little concrete justification beyond an “overly aggressive initial program schedule”—the Marine Corps has pushed the first flight back two years to FY 2013 and slid the initial operating capability (IOC) back by three years to FY 2018. While stressing the program has not run into technical problems, the rationale for slowing the CH-53K program has, at best, been poorly articulated.

Why slow the program? When delivered, the new fly-by-wire CH-53K will, in theory, transport 27,000 pounds of external cargo out to a range of 110 nautical miles, nearly tripling the thirty-year old CH-53E’s lift capability under similar environmental conditions–all while fitting under the same shipboard footprint.

The CH-53K will also provide unparalleled lift under high and hot conditions while maintainability and reliability enhancements to the CH-53K will decrease recurring operating costs over the current CH-53E (the CH-53K aims at a more reasonable $10,000 dollars per flight hour while the CH-53E costs twice that). Survivability and force protection enhancements will also increase protection dramatically, for both aircrew and passengers. What’s not to like?

The CH-53K was an unsung showpiece for those preaching the virtues of incremental development, and, as a result, appetite for the platform has grown by about 30 percent, with the program of record expected to increase from156 aircraft to 200.

But, in the process, the CH-53K has become something of a MV-22-killer. Is this the problem?

The CH-53K is steadily eating away at the V-22 Osprey market. In late 2009, the Marine Corps decided to go with the CH-53Ks to replace their 40-year old CH-53D fleet (MV-22 Ospreys were originally slated to replace the CH-53D). At about the same time, Israel decided to forego the Osprey for the CH-53K, killing the Osprey’s best hope of snaring an international buyer. And with the Osprey 65% availability and the MV-22s high operating costs of about $11,000 dollars an hour, the CH-53K posed a serious threat to the MV-22 program.

Even worse, studies from the Pentagon demonstrated that a CH-53K-equipped big-deck amphib provided a lot more logistical support for embarked Marines than the MV-22, suggesting the mix of embarked MV-22s and CH-53Ks needed tweaking (and possibly fewer MV-22s).
Slowing CH-53K development will keep the new helicopter out of the air (and prevent real-data comparisons between platforms) until after a second multi-year MV-22 contract gets signed in FY 2013. Even worse, slowing the CH-53K schedule raised the program price by at least $1.1 billion dollars, raising the per-unit price. The delay may also may dampen the enthusiasm of potential international buyers and give competing firms an opening to exploit this as yet unexplained delay in what was, once, a procurement showpiece. Why slow a program that stands to be a high-demand showpiece with markets in Israel, Germany, France, Turkey, Singapore and Taiwan?

Hopefully Gen. George Trautman, the Marine’s deputy commandant for aviation, will provide some answers…

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/04/29/why-are-marines-slowing-ch-53k/#ixzz0mZjVCV00

10-05-10, 02:37 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

CH-53K delay will not hold up GE38 engine programme

By Stephen Trimble

Entry into service for the US Marine Corps' Sikorsky CH-53K has been delayed by three years until fiscal year 2018, but the 7,500shp-class General Electric GE38-1 engine will arrive on schedule, programme officials say.

GE is investing heavily in the GE38 engine series as it seeks to widen sales beyond the 200 CH-53Ks for the USMC, says Capt Rick Muldoon, the US Navy's programme manager for the heavylift helicopter.

© Sikorsky

"They see a huge opportunity," he says. "They're moving out in their endeavours."

The current plan allows GE to continue delivering GE38s for ground tests years before airframes become available for flight test.

The company delivered the second engine for ground testing in late April, while tests on the first have exceeded the programme's baseline performance goals, Muldoon says.

As of 15 February, GE had recorded 176 engine starts and 177 operating hours, he says. The engine had demonstrated sustained power of 7,760shp and peak power of 8,300shp, topping the CH-53K's requirement for 7,500shp.

"The engine is not anywhere near the [programme's overall] critical path technologies," Muldoon says.

Three engines are required to lift the CH-53K, which is designed to support a 39,900kg (88,000lb) maximum gross weight. The marines' heavylift requirement is based on the need to transport an entire expeditionary brigade into a landing zone in one night.

The programme also hopes to attract sales from foreign governments, including Germany, Israel and Japan, Muldoon says.

So far, however, Germany remains unconvinced that the CH-53K will meet its requirements, he says. The hold-up is over a perceived need to internally load certain military vehicles, which do not fit inside the CH-53K's cabin, he adds.

The USMC is discussing options for sling-loading the vehicles beneath the helicopter, but Germany has not accepted that approach.

"They want to design a $100 million aircraft around a $100,000 vehicle," Muldoon says.

The German army expects to fly 40 upgraded CH-53GAs until around 2030 under a Eurocopter-led programme.

13-05-10, 01:53 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

US Army starts CIRCM bidding process with draft RFP

By Stephen Trimble

The US Army has released a draft copy of a requirements list for a new self-protection system for rotorcraft that reveals a key new technology remains part of the competition.

The army issued a draft request for proposals for the common infrared countermeasure (CIRCM) contract on 10 May, opening the competitive phase for a deal to develop and install the missile jammer on thousands of helicopters and tiltrotors in the US military inventory.

The competition has drawn interest from familiar IRCM suppliers, such as the Northrop Grumman/Selex team that already manufactures the directed and large aircraft IRCM systems for the US Air Force and US Navy.

But the multi-billion order also has attracted companies to enter the IRCM market for the first time, such as ITT.

ITT has teamed with Lockheed Martin's recently acquired Acculite division to offer a CIRCM system, which includes new technology. Fibre-optic cable is used to connect a pointer-tracker control unit to multiple pointer-trackers, each of which aim laser energy at incoming, heat-seeking missiles.

© Sgt Travis Zielinski/US Army
CIRCM equipment will protect types like the UH-60 Black Hawk

Northrop's approach relies on a single jam-head with a single pointer-tracker, although the company intends to move to a fibre-optic system within a few years.

The ITT system, however, encountered unspecified technical issues during reliability tests ordered by the army in late 2009. ITT executives say the root problems have been identified and corrected.

The draft requirements document specifically allows for different configurations, such as single or multiple pointer-trackers.

The army also requires that all equipment associated with the CIRCM system, including installation gear, can weigh no more than 38.5kg (85lb).

CIRCM is designed to offer spherical protection from missiles around rotorcraft, similar to IRCM-based systems already installed on larger, fixed-wing military, commercial and VIP aircraft.

The project replaces the army's previous plan to acquire the BAE Systems advanced threat infrared countermeasure system, which failed during aerial cable range tests in November 2004, according to the draft army documents.

24-05-10, 03:14 PM
Russia is taking a serious look at Advanced Helicopters again...................

Mil Mi-X1 Helicopter

Pusher propellers will be the level-flight propulsion configuration of choice for Russian helicopter manufacturers Mil and Kamov for a new breed of high-speed rotorcraft to fly in the 2015 timeframe. In 2008 both Russian helicopter specialists revealed high-speed helicopter concepts competing for the Rb15 billion ($635 million) government allocation for development of new rotorcraft technologies. Kamov has two concepts - the Ka-90 and Ka-92. Mil is challenging with the Mi-X1 and unpiloted MRVK. A single superior concept is expected to be selected to serve as the base for the creation of production models.

The Mi-X1 and MRVK use similar rotor systems, with a main rotor and rear-mounted pusher propeller that gives a boost in cruise and adds torque stabilisation through thrust vectoring. Like the Ka-92, Mil's design also has two VK2500s for power, but is lighter at 10,000kg normal and 12,000kg maximum take-off weight. The smaller cabin will accommodate 20-25 passengers or 3,500-4,000kg of cargo. Static ceiling will be 11,500ft and range up to 1,550km.

The Mi-X1 is being developed for a cruise speed of 257kt and maximum speed of 280kt using an innovative main rotor design with computer control. Mil is working on a system to suppress local stalls on the retreating blade. Such high speed would be achieved by applying a technology called the Stall Local Elimination System (SLES) in the main rotor. SLES delays the stall on the retreating blade through the control of its orientation angle. According to Mil calculations, the SLES should work well at speeds of up to 400 km/h. To delay the blade stall at higher speeds, Mil suggests a combination of the SLES technology with an arrow-type shape to the blade tip. Contributing to the helicopter's speed is the potential use of a tail-mounted propeller with thrust vector control via surfaces installed in slipstream.

24-05-10, 03:17 PM
Pusher propellers will be the level-flight propulsion configuration of choice for Russian helicopter manufacturers Mil and Kamov for a new breed of high-speed rotorcraft to fly in the 2015 timeframe. In 2008 both Russian helicopter specialists revealed high-speed helicopter concepts competing for the Rb15 billion ($635 million) government allocation for development of new rotorcraft technologies. Kamov has two concepts – the Ka-90 and Ka-92. Mil is challenging with the Mi-X1 and unpiloted MRVK. A single superior concept is expected to be selected to serve as the base for the creation of production models.


The most radical concept is the Ka-90, described as a “high-speed vehicle of rotorcraft type”. Kamov general designer Sergey Mikheyev says the Ka-90 has been a “long evolving” concept of “helicopter at take-off/landing, and airplane in cruise flight”. In essence, the Ka-90 is a “variable-geometry” air vehicle with two separate propulsion systems, one for cruise and one for take-off/landing.

Proposed in 1985, it was shelved after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now dusted off, it is back under work. A scale model revealed at the HeliRussia 2008 show in May provided evidence of the Ka-90 having a turbojet in the rear fuselage for high-speed level flight and retractable rotor for take-off and landing. Presumably, the lift in cruise flight will be generated by a “wing”, in this case a huge, specially shaped container above the fuselage to which the rotor blades are retracted after being folded. According to Mikheyev, the Ka-90 is intended to have a cruise speed of 378kt.

On 15 May 2008 the first International Exhibition in Moscow helicopters, «Helirussia 2008». For the first time presented under development E / P of Mil and Kamov. Also attended by other top design firms such as Eurocopter, Agusta, Westland, helicopters MD, and the helicopter Robinson. . The pavilion of the Kamov for the first time presented two models of the ongoing helicopters Ka-90 and Ka-92. This is actually a hybrid helicopter to develop speeds of around 800 km / h. According to the statements of representatives of the Ka-90 single-rotor bearing (single blade) which is activated when apoprosgeiosi while cruising the engine is activated by a certain level and beyond. For the better aerodynamic rotor wrapped in a specially formatted atraktidio in his back, all the while folding motion is proportional system of landing aircraft.


25-05-10, 04:27 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

PICTURE: Sikorsky's X2 Hits 181kt

Posted by Graham Warwick at 5/25/2010 8:25 AM CDT

Sikorsky's X2 Technology high-speed helicopter demonstrator has reached 181kt on its way to the target of cruising at 250kt. The coaxial-rotor helicopter has been cleaned up for the high-speed runs, with rotor-hub fairings and retractable landing gear.

Photo: Sikorsky

Sikorsky says tests at its West Palm Beach, Florida, development flight center have revealed no show-stoppers. The 181kt mark, faster than most conventional helicopters can cruise comfortably, completes the third phase of flight tests. The fourth phase will take the X2 to 250kt.

Sikorsky has already proposed a light tactical helicopter using the X2's technology suite to meet the U.S. Army's Armed Aerial Scout requirement to replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The company says it could develop the all-new helicopter by 2018.

03-06-10, 02:55 AM
DoD: Too Late for ATIRCM Alternatives


Published: 2 Jun 2010 16:05

The Pentagon has determined that alternatives to the U.S. Army's Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures/Common Missile Warning System program do exist, but that switching now would be more costly than sticking with ATIRCM/CMWS, according to a letter from Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter.

In the June 1 letter to Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., Carter explains how restructuring the ATIRCM/CMWS program caused a breach of the Nunn-McCurdy statute, which requires the Pentagon to notify Congress when major defense programs experience substantial cost growth.

When Pentagon and Army officials determined the ATIRCM system was too heavy for any helicopter except the CH-47 Chinook, Carter decided to reduce the purchase quantity, which sent the unit cost to soar past Nunn-McCurdy limits. A December selected acquisition report for the program first identified these changes.

"Due to reliability, cost, and weight issues, I have limited the production and fielding of the ATIRCM subprogram to 83 fully configured end items in order to address a validated urgent operational need for CH-47 helicopters operating in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)," Carter wrote in his letter to Skelton.

As part of the Nunn-McCurdy certification process, in which the Pentagon explains the cost growth to Congress and reaffirms why the program is still essential to national security, officials have to show that lower-cost alternatives are not available.

In the case of the ATIRCM/CMWS program, alternatives do exist, but not at lower cost, according to documents that accompanied Carter's letter.

DoD officials compiled a list of all of the missile warning and laser-based countermeasure systems available. They found that several alternatives can perform the job of CMWS, which uses an ultraviolet sensor to trigger flares that divert enemy missiles. These include the Navy's planned Joint and Allied Threat Awareness Sensor, scheduled to reach initial operating capability in 2014. The Air Force's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) AAR-54 ultraviolet sensor and the NextGen infrared sensor also meet the detection requirements, but cannot dispense flares unless more money is spent to develop the capability, according to the documents.

However, too much money has already been spent on CMWS, negating any potential savings from the alternatives, according to the documents.

LAIRCM could also serve as an alternative to the ATIRCM system, but again, many of the ATIRCM systems are already on contract.

"To replace ATIRCM now would nearly double procurement costs and add approximately 12 months [of] delay to fielding the urgent requirement," reads the document.

The 2003 requirements document that led to the ATIRCM program also said the Army's entire fleet of helicopters needs laser-based countermeasures.

Because of cost and weight, "ATIRCM is unsuitable for this requirement," the documents say.

Many vendors - including Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin - have next-generation laser-based countermeasure designs based on mature technologies that improve reliability and decrease weight and cost, according to the documents.

"However, because of the current operational need for capability now, the ATIRCM, CMWS program, with the ATIRCM subprogram limited to 83 fully configured end items, is certified for this criteria," the documents say.

The restructured ATIRCM/CMWS program consists of three subprograms: ATIRCM, CMWS and Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM), which is pre-milestone B.

The reduced buy leaves an extra $10.5 million in procurement funds in the budget request for 20ll, according to Carter's letter. The Pentagon plans to request a reprogramming of these funds to support research and development for the CIRCM subprogram. Carter asks Congress to support the 2011 budget and follow-on reprogramming request.

03-06-10, 02:36 PM
U.S. State Department Accepts Modernized S-61 Helicopters for Use in Afghanistan

(Source: Sikorsky Aerospace Services; issued June 2, 2010)

PERKASIE, Pa. --- Sikorsky Aerospace Services today announced that the U.S. State Department has accepted the first two modernized S-61 aircraft that will support missions for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) is the aftermarket division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The U.S. State Department has entered into a five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) purchase agreement for up to 110 modernized S-61 aircraft for passenger and cargo transport missions in support of its worldwide operations. The accepted aircraft will now undergo completion by SAS with specialized mission equipment to meet U.S. State Department requirements before being deployed this fall.

"The U.S. State Department's acceptance of these first two modernized S-61 aircraft marks a major milestone in the launch of the S-61T modernization program. The S-61T helicopter will meet the needs of customers worldwide, and we are excited about how much interest this aircraft has generated," said David Adler, President of Sikorsky Aerospace Services. "As the State Department pursues worldwide aviation missions, we remain fully committed to supporting their helicopter requirements."

The modernized S-61T helicopter will incorporate key upgrades that include composite main rotor blades (CMRB), modular wiring harness, and an optional state-of-the-art glass cockpit – all of which dramatically improve aircraft supportability. The S-61T helicopter modernization will also add lift capability as well as enhance speed. Additional features will be incorporated to reduce pilot fatigue and reduced maintenance requirements for increased safety.

Sikorsky Aerospace Services, a Sikorsky company, provides comprehensive support to rotary and fixed wing operators around the world. It offers its military and commercial customers a full portfolio of support services, including material distribution, maintenance, overhaul & repair, aircraft modifications and life-cycle support.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide.


07-06-10, 11:40 PM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

ILA: EADS unveils hybrid eco-helicopter concept

By Andrew Doyle

EADS (hall 7, stand 100) Innovation Works has unveiled a concept helicopter featuring a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system that it claims has the potential to halve fuel consumption compared with a typical twin-turbine helicopter such as the Eurocopter EC135.

One of several research projects being pursued by Innovation Works under the "eCO2avia" banner, EADS says the next step could be to build a flying prototype.

"The architecture of the system enables a number of features that reduce the power demand, and therefore fuel consumption," the company says.

The concept helicopter uses two opposed piston opposed cylinder diesel engines supplied by EcoMotors International of the USA to generate electrical power for the main and tail rotors. A power electronics unit controls energy flows for maximum efficiency.

© Billypix

"This means that the main rotor can be tilted forward so that in cruise flight you get forward thrust, but the body of the helicopter is in the minimum drag position," says EADS. "The tail rotor could also be turned off in cruise flight," it adds, as an aerodynamic surface can be used to maintain directional control.

The engines alone are around 30% more fuel efficient than today's turbine engines, while other weight savings and aerodynamic improvements facilitated by the hybrid architecture increase the total potential fuel saving to 50%, says EADS.

Another environmental and safety benefit is that a helicopter could, for example, take off or land quietly next to a hospital using electrical power from on-board batteries without the diesel engines running.

"Several different kinds of combustion engines could be integrated into such a hybrid system, which is one of many examples of the research efforts undertaken by the EADS group towards achieving the aviation industry's climate protection goals," says the company. The concept has been developed with input from EADS subsidiary Eurocopter.

08-06-10, 03:01 PM
Russian Helicopters Define the Technical Profile of the Modernized Mi-171M

(Source: Russian Helicopters JSC; issued June 8, 2010)

BERLIN --- The project for the development and initiation of serial production of the Mi-171M was launched in 2009. It is planned that all test and design, flight testing and certification activities will be over by the end of 2012 and serial production will start at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, a part of Russian Helicopters industry holding, in 2013.

The Mi-171M is based on the Mi-171 and should eventually replace the Mi-8/17. Over 80 innovations are planned to be used on the helicopter. The Mi-171M will have a new power train. It will be fitted with more powerful VK-2500 engines, an APU with launch altitude up to 6000 metres, a modernised main gearbox, swashplate, main rotor head, transmission, composite main rotor blades, X-shaped tail rotor.

It is planned to bring the crew count down to 2. The helicopter will be fitted with a digital autopilot in standard configuration, and will offer a glass cockpit option. A lot of changes will be made to units and equipment.

The Mi-171M will have improved performance. Estimates say that range without additional fuel tanks will reach 850 km, the helicopter will carry up to 5000 kg externally and fly at a higher cruise speed. The Mi-171M will be more stable in flight and will be able to hover at higher side wind speeds. It will have a -50 to +50°Ñ operating temperature in all climate zones.

The way it is operated will also change. It is planned to greatly increase its service life and time between overhauls, and in the future operation according to technical condition may be introduced. Multifunctional test and control apparatus and modern on-ground maintenance equipment will be used to service the helicopter, and its operating manuals will be to best international standards.

One of the priorities for Russian Helicopters is to keep the key advantage of the Mi-8/17 family for the Mi-171M, which is a reasonable price. It is expected a flight hour will cost less on the Mi-171M than on the Mi-17/171.

The Mi-171M will be certified according to AP-29 norms, and it is planned to certify the helicopter abroad, where high demand is forecast.

It is expected that the first test prototype of the Mi-171M will be manufactured by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in 2011.

Mi-171M – a prospective helicopter being developed from the Mi-171, in serial production at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The helicopter will have an improved power train, a new rotor system, modernised avionics suite, improved performance and economy, a new operating paradigm. It is planned to certify the helicopter according to AP-29 norms. The project for the development and initiation of serial production of the Mi-171M is run by Russian Helicopters. The design comes from Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. According to the preliminary schedule, serial production will start at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in 2013.

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, JSC - the enterprise in Russia making both helicopters and airplanes. The manufacturing and technological capacities of the Plant makes it possible to quickly start production of new aircraft types and combine the manufacture of prototypes and mass production. Over 8000 aircraft have been built over the 70-year history of the Plant. Today it produces the Mi-171, Mi-171Sh helicopters.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom. It is the managing body of the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Vpered Moscow Machine-Building Plant, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM , Helicopter Service Company (VSK) and Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant.

UIC Oboronprom, JSC is a multi-profile industrial and investment group established in 2002. Its main tasks include helicopter engineering (Russian Helicopters managing company), engine-building (United Engine Industry Corporation managing company), air defense systems and complex electronic systems (Defense Systems holding company), and other machine-building activities. The companies of the group reported revenues of over 130 billion roubles in 2009.


09-06-10, 04:09 PM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

ILA: Eurocopter reveals Chinook-style heavy transport helicopter design

By Craig Hoyle

Eurocopter's proposed future Heavy Transport Helicopter (HTH) design has changed dramatically, thanks to the company's fresh co-operation with US manufacturer Boeing.

On show in model form at Eurocopter's stand in the Heli Centre (hall 1, stand 130), the HTH now shows more than a passing resemblance to Boeing's iconic CH-47 Chinook, but with a massive 33t maximum take-off weight.

The aircraft's tandem four-bladed main rotors have a span of 19.5m (64ft) and the helicopter would be capable of carrying up to 56 troops in addition to its three-person crew, Eurocopter says. The concept has a proposed 167kt (310km/h) top speed, and would cruise at around 148kt to an altitude of around 23,000ft.

© Billypix

Eurocopter says the concept has a projected range of 300km (162nm) with its maximum 13t payload, with this increasing to 1,000km at 8t. In-flight refuelling would stretch its range to up to 5,000km, it adds.

Acting on behalf of the French and German governments, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has previously identified a requirement for a new transport helicopter capable of lifting 13t of equipment and supplies.

The HTH design has now moved beyond the concept stage, although no formal acquisition programme has been established by potential buyers. And Eurocopter’s relationship with Boeing marks a departure from the USA’s initial reluctance to work with European industry when the system was first touted in 2004.

“What is quite logical is that two global players are sitting together and sharing their strengths and knowledge,” says Hans Weber, Eurocopter’s vice-president of the HTH programme. “We have a logical structure of workshare driven by competencies, and not by politics. What you see is the outcome so far.”

Weber says “the pre-design is very mature, and meets the requirements set by the NATO staff targets.” The companies have been exchanging proposed solutions with the organisation for the last one to two years, and “so far we’ve got very positive feedback,” he adds.

The intention is for Boeing and Eurocopter to each perform 50% of a future project, using off-the-shelf technologies wherever possible. “This helicopter should not be used as a technology platform, but use state of the art technologies which already exist,” Weber says. “This makes it cheaper, and easier.”

For example, several candidate engines already exist which could power the design, he notes.

The EDA hosted a half-day aerial capabilities seminar at the show on Tuesday, with discussion topics having included industrial collaboration, air transport and unmanned air vehicles. "Europe's military aerospace industry is unlikely to be sustained without transformational action and new ways of business," the agency says.

09-06-10, 04:38 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Boeing and EADS Working Together???

Posted by Robert Wall at 6/9/2010 9:20 AM CDT

Boeing and EADS spend much of their time at each other's throats.

Just today, EADS CEO Louis Gallois made fun of Boeing's KC-X tanker offering, saying it is a paper airplane. And, he says, Boeing's political push to bar the A330 from entering the competition shows how nervous the rival is.

So with all these atmospherics -- not to mention the usual Airbus/Boeing Commercial Airplanes bickering -- it is hard to believe the two could do anything together.

But yet that is the case. Eurocopter and Boeing are putting together a team to jointly work on future heavy-lift helicopters to meet U.S. Army and Franco-German needs. If successful, Eurocopter would be the prime in Europe and Boeing would do the same in the U.S.

Details of work allocation remain to be determined, but it could be a big step in transatlantic cooperation from the two parties you may least expect to work together.

09-06-10, 04:41 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Russian Air Force Wants More Hinds

Posted by M Pyadushkin at 6/9/2010 8:55 AM CDT

The Russian Air Force decided to diversify its helicopter fleet with a mix of new and modernized aircraft. In June the military took a decision to order 22 Mi-35M attack helicopters, a model designed exclusively for export.

Head of Russian Helicopters Andrey Shibitov said at ILA 2010 that the adaptation for the Russian Air Force will cover only communication and navigation equipment, for example a switch from GPS to Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system. He ruled out the chance that the Mi-35 order is caused by low production rates for new-generation Mil Mi-28N and Kamov Ka-52 attack rotorcraft already purchased by the Russian military, saying that Mi-35 may be a cheaper solution for certain missions. The production of this batch has already been launched at Rostvertol facility in Rostov-on-Don, despite the fact that the contract is not signed yet.

Mi-35M is an improved version of the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter featuring more powerful engines and new avionics. It was designed for an Indian bid for attack helicopters, but has already been supplied by Russia to Venezuela and Brazil.

Mi-35M photo credit: Rostvertol

10-06-10, 03:25 PM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

ILA: AgustaWestland proposes AW101 for Luftwaffe CSAR requirement

By Luca Peruzzi

AgustaWestland has pitched its AW101 platform as a means of meeting the German air force's combat search and rescue (CSAR) requirement.

The request for proposals deadline response is set for 26 July, with a preferred bidder selection due by year-end.

"The AW101 CSAR is ready today at low risk, offering proven combat and operational capabilities, together with NATO interoperability, to meet the CSAR needs of the German air force across all environments", says Richard Luck, a market development executive at AgustaWestland.

The demanding and compressed Luftwaffe programme requirement is for an initial eight aircraft with an option for 11 additional examples. Four would be delivered in a full operational capability configuration by the end of 2014, to be ready for operational deployment from 2015.

AgustaWestland says its CSAR version of the AW101, which has been selected by eight nations, has accumulated more than 200,000 flying hours, of which 15,000h were in combat areas, and more than 23,000 operational desert landings without incident.

The AW101 offers growth potential in the rotor dynamics and engine areas, it adds.

The Luftwaffe requirement encompasses in-flight refuelling capability, enhanced self-protection and all-weather net-centric avionics, including satellite communications. It also seeks the ability to recover a seven-person team with the same number in the rescue-aircraft team.

To boost fire support aircraft capabilities, AgustaWestland has modified the AW101's lateral doors so that three 12.7mm machine guns can be mounted to provide 360° coverage with 220° overlapping coverage. In addition, it has fitted an engine infrared suppression system and a medical treatment module already in service with the Royal Danish Air Force.

In parallel to the RFP timescale for the CSAR platform, the German air force is also awaiting responses to a request for information regarding training and logistics support. These are also due on 26 July.

The AW101 CSAR demonstrator on static display at ILA features, for the first time, the markings of India and Algeria, which have acquired, respectively, AW101 VVIP and maritime patrol helicopter versions.

15-06-10, 02:58 AM
Presidential Helo Competition Complicated

Jun 14, 2010

By Bettina H. Chavanne, Andy Nativi
Washington, Genoa

The myriad industrial relationships broken and reforged for the newly relaunched U.S. presidential helicopter competition seem to represent a larger trend in defense manufacturing. It’s not the world that’s shrinking, it’s the world economy.

Boeing announced June 8 it is buying full intellectual property, data and production rights from AgustaWestland for its AW101 aircraft. “This is not a partnership,” says Phil Dunford, vice president and general manager of Boeing Rotorcraft. “This will be a Boeing-built airplane.”

The two companies are forging a wide-ranging relationship. AgustaWestland stands to make a considerable amount of money on the sale of its intellectual rights to the AW101. And the company is now relieved of the burden of navigating an intercontinental business partnership. Boeing assumes the risk, while AgustaWestland reaps the rewards.

The reverse is true for Boeing, which sold its intellectual property rights to AgustaWestland on the CH‑47 Chinook, which is built and marketed to the Italians in Italy. Anywhere else in the world, the two companies compete against each other with the AW101 and CH-47 as their own platforms. With AgustaWestland holding a minority stake in the Bell Textron BA609 tiltrotor program, it is again linked to Boeing.

For the VXX Presidential Helicopter Program, Boeing is partnering with Bell Helicopter on a different offering—the V-22 Osprey, which was thrown into the mix. “There has been a lot of interest in the V-22,” says Dunford. And, he adds, in the CH-47 Chinook, which is the third Boeing response to the Navy’s RFI.

Meanwhile, AgustaWestland’s former partner on the VH-71, Lockheed Martin, has relinquished its lead role and teamed with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to pitch Sikorsky’s S-92 as a possible contender for the crown.

Neither Sikorsky nor Boeing will discuss the potential division of labor. “We’re looking at the best use of our respective facilities in terms of where the work gets done,” says Scott Starrett, president of Sikorsky Military Systems. Dunford says the AW101 production location “remains to be seen. The goal is to build as much of it as we can inside the Boeing Co.”

A strong “Buy American” sentiment in Washington is probably also driving some of the teaming decisions. AgustaWestland suffered in the first competition from not being an all-American company. By handing over the reins of the AW101 to Boeing, that argument is removed from the equation. Somewhat. Boeing has launched its own “Buy American” campaign for an entirely different contract award battle, and is already being pressed for specifics on just how American the Boeing 101 will be. “There are still components built in Europe,” Dunford says. “Depending on the time line, I would imagine they would be existing supply chains we would use.”

No formal request for proposals exists, the Navy is still muddling through its analysis of alternatives (AOA), and yet this complicated struggle to win the VXX bid is already in full swing. If it seems unusual to pitch a battle royal for a fleet of two dozen aircraft at most, it is because there are billions of dollars at stake, for AgustaWestland in particular. Seven of its VH-71s are sitting in storage at the Naval Air Systems (Navair) homestead at Patuxent River, Md.

Those aircraft could potentially be used as test articles if the so-called Boeing 101 wins the competition. The U.S. manufacturer could easily argue that the government could recoup its $2-plus-billion investment on the first, failed competition, by selecting a platform that has already been through the process. Now that it owns all the rights, Boeing would have only to make minor changes to fit the VXX RFP.

“Until the AOA is produced, we’re not going to know the way the customer will go,” Dunford says. “We will respond either individually or with a mix [of aircraft] depending on what the AOA says.”

Whatever the AOA determines about the acquisition process, which was saddled with ever-shifting requirements and a glut of agencies with a say in the matter, the request for information reveals the government’s interest in breaking down the program into more manageable pieces.

The presidential helicopter could be a single type model with two variants—one “fully appointed, executive” and another “significantly lighter, performance-based, C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence] capable variant” with reconfigurable VIP amenities. Or, the solution may lie in two separate models altogether.

The Navy is being exceedingly cautious, refusing to release any information until its AOA is complete. “It is premature to estimate particular costs for any specific configuration,” the service said in a statement issued June 8. It also notes the RFI is simply a “first step in the data gathering stage of the AOA process.”

The Navy wants to address “all feasible options considering a holistic assessment of requirements, capabilities, cost drivers, schedule implications and risks.” Hoping, perhaps to avoid the issues that led to a 2007 judgment levied by a Navy evaluation of the program, called the Program Management Assist Group that pointed to “dysfunctional contractor behaviors” and unrealistic requirements from the White House.

Credit: AgustaWestland

22-06-10, 12:10 AM
Bidders Prepare For FTH Program

Jun 21, 2010

By Robert Wall

Development strategies are crystallizing for a new heavy-lift helicopter with the European Defense Agency release of a request for information and NATO working on turning an alliance staff target for such a rotorcraft into an actual requirement.

One key design feature involves carrying a load internally, rather than using sling loads. Aarne Kreuzinger-Janik, German air force chief of staff, wants the helo to carry 70 troops (or 13-15 metric tons of payload) with a range of 300 km. (185 mi.) in difficult environmental conditions. The system would be in the 80,000-lb. class.

Eurocopter and Boeing are jointly preparing for the Future Transport Helicopter (FTH) project, a potentially cooperative venture between the U.S. and several European states. The goal would be to provide the U.S. Army with a CH-47 replacement. In Germany, the FTH is aimed at replacing CH‑53s, while France wants to establish a heavy-lift capability it now lacks.

The exact work allocation between Boeing and Eurocopter is not set; but under the terms of the initial agreement, Boeing would serve as the prime contractor for any U.S. activity and Eurocopter would do the same in Europe, says Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. The goal is to have a heavy-lift capability available around 2020.

Boeing’s director for rotorcraft strategy, David L. Jones, notes that the cabin size will be key and has to be about the same as a C-130’s.

If a U.S.-European FTH project goes forward, it could provide the only meaningful transatlantic effort for the foreseeable future, Bertling asserts.

He says the FTH plan being devised by his company and Boeing relies on the use of the latest available technology. “[But] we want to avoid the errors we have had in the past,” he says, acknowledging development hurdles on other new rotorcraft projects. Jones says the systems should be at a technology-readiness Level 6, where they have been demonstrated.

In addition, Bertling says workshare will be allocated by capability, rather than apportioned to allow a company to build a technology skill it currently lacks.

But the Boeing/Eurocopter team is not unchallenged. Sikorsky is proposing the CH-53K now in development for the U.S. Marine Corps. It would provide the ideal jumping-off point to meet the heavy-lift need.

Joseph Gigantelli, Sikorsky’s vice president for sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says efforts now underway to build industrial ties in Germany for the Cyclone represent a good stepping stone to introduce the CH-53K in Europe.

On the engine side, Germany’s MTU is throwing its weight behind using the GE38 for the new rotorcraft, a program in which it has taken a strategic stake. The GE38 powers the CH-53K already.

Jones adds that the Rolls-Royce AE1107C would also provide a suitable engine along with the GE38.

Credit: Boeing

22-06-10, 02:00 PM
Leading Edge

AW&ST On Technology

Students Take Aim at SAR Tiltrotors

Posted by Graham Warwick at 6/21/2010 4:26 PM CDT

I particularly like the Georgia Tech CAESAR and the University of Virginia SOTERION...........

A dual-fuselage tiltrotor conceived by students at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg is the winner in a NASA college competition to design an amphibious aircraft for search-and-rescue and firefighting.

Virginia Tech VTRAFT (Source: NASA)

The requirement was to design a tiltrotor that could take off and land vertically on water and land, able carry 50 passengers or water for firefighting, with a cruise speed of 300kt and a range of 800nm.

Water stability in high sea states was the main reason a team of 10 students at Virginia Tech chose a dual-fuselage concept, the twin hulls eliminating the need for pontoons and reducing drag and complexity. The configuration also provides a rescue area between the fuselages that is shielded from rotor downwash.

Georgia Tech CAESAR. (Source: NASA)

The second-placed US/UK Georgia Tech/University of Liverpool team chose a quad tiltrotor design as the most conservative and practical configuration using available technology. A major focus was on handling qualities in the SAR mission, and the study included real-time flight simulations at Liverpool University.

University of Virginia Soterion. (Source: NASA)

An advanced-technology approach was taken by the third-placed team from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Its Soterion features rotors that vary their diameter between hover and cruise, continously variable transmissions, engines mounted above the fuselage away from water and passengers, and retractable floats housed in the rotor nacelles for water stability.

Honorable mentions went to a pair of quad tiltotor designs: Ohio State University's Geryon and the Pelican from Indiana's Trine University. An honorable mention also went to a team from the Hindustan College of Engineering in Chennai, India, for an unusual combination of helicopter and tiltrotor.

Hindustan College of Engineering. (Source: NASA)

30-06-10, 04:00 PM
Russian Helicopters Develops A Range Of New-Generation Unmanned Rotorcraft

(Source: Russian Helicopters JSC; issued June 30, 2010)

ZHUKOVSKY, Moscow region --- At the 4th International Forum and Exhibition Unmanned Multipurpose Vehicle Systems - UVS-TECH 2010, held as part of Engineering Technologies 2010 that opens today in Zhukovsky,Russian Helicopters rotorcraft-manufacturing holding company showcases two perspective unmanned helicopters, Korshun and Ka-135.

Unmanned helicopter Korshun

Unmanned helicopter Ka-135

These models are designed under Russian Helicopters program on developing a broad spectrum of vertical take-off and landing UAVs within three categories: long range (over 400 km), medium range (up to 400 km) and close range (up to 100 km).

Korshun medium-range unmanned helicopter weighs 500 kg and enjoys the range of 300 km, payload of 150 kg and maximum speed of 170 km/h. In the niche of close-range vehicles Russian Helicopters debuts Ka-135, new UAV of co-axial scheme with piston-engine and tricycle landing gear, weighing 300 kg and boasting up to100 km operational range, up to 100 kg payload and 170 km/h max speed.

Both unmanned helicopters are multi-purpose and feature the capability of equipping base platform with a variety of functional modules. They are intended for monitoring the environment, aerial patrol and security, transporting cargo, ecological monitoring, meteorological tasks, providing communication with hard-to-reach areas.

“Unmanned helicopters are a new on-going trend in world unmanned aviation evolving within the past decade. We estimate UAV market as one of the most dynamic and highly perspective. Russian rotorcraft industry should take a niche on this market. In current context our company’s main task is to develop up-to-date and competitive UAVs that are multifunctional, highly reliable and easily maintainable“, states Andrei Shibitov, COO Russian Helicopters.

Russian Helicopters plans to design various-purpose unmanned vehicle systems for a wide range of operations.

“Manned light helicopters like Mi-34, Ka-226, Patrol, Ansat, Aktai can be utilized as platforms for developing unmanned systems”, says Unmanned helicopters’ systems program director Gennady Bebeshko. –“At presentRussian Helicopters conducts initiative R&D to define technical configuration of unmanned helicopter automatic control system. This project is financed out of Russian Helicopters own funds”.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom. It is the managing body of the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Vpered Moscow Machine-Building Plant, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM , Helicopter Service Company (VSK) and Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant.

UIC Oboronprom, JSC is a multi-profile industrial and investment group established in 2002. Its main tasks include helicopter engineering (Russian Helicopters managing company), engine-building (United Engine Industry Corporation managing company), air defense systems and complex electronic systems (Defense Systems holding company), and other machine-building activities. The companies of the group reported revenues of over 130 billion roubles in 2009.


30-06-10, 04:34 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Israel ditches Apache upgrade plan, commits to CH-53K

By Arie Egozi

The Israeli air force has decided against upgrading more of its Boeing AH-64A Apache attack helicopters to the manufacturer's Longbow configuration, citing budget restrictions.

Rather than modify its legacy aircraft to the D-model standard, the service will instead equip the type with new weapons, the air force says. One of the systems under consideration is a locally made laser-guided rocket.

Israel's active inventory of new and rebuilt AH-64Ds totals 17 aircraft, with Flightglobal's HeliCAS database listing the service as also operating 30 A-model Apaches.

Xnir Gallery on flightglobal.com/AirSpace

The upgrade path had been considered in preference to buying new aircraft from Boeing. But despite the decision not to proceed, a senior air force source says the service's current fleets of Apaches and Bell AH-1 Cobras are able "to do the missions" required.

Meanwhile, the air force will continue to operate its current Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters until it can acquire the next-generation CH-53K. All other alternatives "were evaluated and dismissed", an air force source says.

Israel is already conducting a 2025 upgrade programme to its CH-53s, and the source says: "If needed we will prolong the life of this excellent platform until its successor is ready."

The US Marine Corps has a requirement for 200 CH-53Ks, with the service expecting the programme to undergo its critical design review "this summer".

Sikorsky should fly its first prototype in fiscal year 2013, with deliveries to the USMC anticipated to start in FY2015-16 and initial operating capability to be declared in 2018.

© Sikorsky

To be powered by three General Electric GE38-1 engines, the CH-53K will have a maximum take-off weight of 39,900kg (88,000lb).

Separately, Israel has held preliminary talks with Lockheed Martin about acquiring more C-130J tactical transports. The nation will receive its first example in mid-2013 under a $98 million contract confirmed in April, with its initial requirement also covering a further two.

"We want to include additional C-130Js in the next multi-year procurement programme of the Israeli defence forces," a senior air force source confirms. The service has previously outlined a requirement for six stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s to replace its remaining C-130Es.

01-07-10, 03:52 AM
EADS Seeks U.S. Inroads In Helicopters


Published: 30 Jun 2010 12:11

COLUMBUS, Miss. - Amid a fierce battle over a massive contract for U.S. tanker planes, the European aerospace group EADS is also pressing for a smaller deal for helicopters that could boost its standing in the key U.S. defense market.

EADS, which is the parent of Airbus and vying for the $35 billion tanker project for the U.S. military, also hopes to win the deal for 500 helicopters through its Eurocopter division.

To date, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company has won only one major contract in the U.S. market, a 2006 deal for light utility helicopters worth about $2 billion.

So far, 120 helicopters have been delivered for uses such as medical evacuation or for National Guard operations during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

But EADS, which is due to submit a new proposal in July for the 179 refueling tankers, would like to have a larger share in the largest defense market in the world.

"Our strategy is to have a bigger presence in the U.S. government and military market," said Marc Paganini, chief executive of Eurocopter America.

Eurocopter builds the aircraft at its Columbus, Miss., plant, where the company gets state incentives.

To compete, Paganini said Eurocopter must show it is a "good U.S. corporate citizen," capable of producing locally and creating jobs.

For the chopper contract, EADS is likely to be competing against rival Boeing again - as it is for the tanker deal - as well as U.S. makers Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter, and the Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland.

Eurocopter has also teamed up with U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin to develop three prototypes of an army reconnaissance helicopter called AAS-72X, based on the European firm's UH-72A.

The first test flight will take place in December at Eurocopter's U.S. headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Eurocopter said the formal proposal is likely to come in April or May of 2011, with the military seeking standard helicopters, pilotless drones or possibly a blend of the two.

The company expects a tough battle for the contract worth an estimated $6 billion to $8 billion ($10 billion including maintenance) for the 500 aircraft to replace the current Bell-built OH-58D Kiowa helicopter by 2015.

"Eurocopter has an excellent chance," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president and analyst with Teal Group, a consultancy based in Virginia.

"They've done a very good job executing on (light utility helicopters) and on creating a new market for the scout mission. They've done an equally great job promoting it."

But the analyst said he has concerns about funding for this program, which could mean that the project "will slip several years out."

02-07-10, 05:39 PM
Navair: Interest In CH-53K Remains Strong

Jul 2, 2010

By Bettina H. Chavanne

Germany, Israel and Taiwan top the list of countries interested in Sikorsky’s new CH-53K, now scheduled for first flight in 2013.

The heavy lifter, which is headed for service with the U.S. Marine Corps, has suffered from delays, including a slip in initial operational capability of three years, to 2018. The delays seem not to faze the Marines and the CH-53K program office at Naval Air Systems Command (Navair). The extra time “buys [foreign countries] time to make an informed decision,” says Capt. Rick Muldoon, program manager.

Germany operates about 80 CH-53D model aircraft, designated the CH-53G, 40 of which it is upgrading. Eventually, Germany hopes to replace its CH-53 fleet, and the French want to establish a heavy-lift capability for themselves. A key design feature of the future helicopter involves carrying a load internally rather than using sling loads.

Capt. Muldoon feels the CH-53K would be an excellent replacement, and says the internal load requirement misses the point. The CH-53G does not have the capacity even of the CH-53E, which can fly between 125-130 kt. with a stable load hooked to a dual-point system.

“Part of what’s driving their requirement is there’s a perception that you have to bring a load internally so you can go faster,” Muldoon says. “The other argument is that you are vulnerable with an external load.” The Marines disagree, and are providing the Germans with data to demonstrate the CH-53E’s external load capacity. The CH-53K will be able to carry triple loads, a single load on a main hook or a dual-point load, Muldoon says.

The Germans joined representatives from Israel recently for a technical coordination group meeting with Navair to discuss the CH-53K. Taiwan also has “voiced interest” in the aircraft, Muldoon says, and is probably seeking a fleet of about a dozen. Taiwan is interested in have a minesweeping capability on its CH-53K, but without a requirement for that capability on U.S. platforms, that element remains unresolved. Muldoon says the Navy will look at that issue in time for discussions affecting the Fiscal 2014 budget cycle. “We’ll discuss heavy lift and whether airborne mine countermeasures get folded into that,” he says.

08-07-10, 02:14 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

More on Active Rotors

Posted by Graham Warwick at 7/7/2010 1:37 PM CDT

I sometimes get confused, I know, like when I see US research programs that seem to duplicate each other's objectives. That happened when I saw a US Army solicitation for the first phase of something called the Reconfigurable Rotors program. Its goals seemed awfully familiar as I had just finished writing about DARPA's Mission Adaptive Rotor (MAR) program.

The goal of the Army Aviation Applied Technology Division's Reconfigurable Rotors program is to demonstrate a full-scale active rotor that reduces vibration by 90% and acoustic signature by 50%, and increases rotor figure of merit by 10% and cruise efficiency by 8%. The goal of DARPA's MAR is to flight-test a full-scale active rotor that increases payload by 30% and range by 40%, and reduces acoustic detection range by 50% and rotor-induced vibration by 90%.

Those sounded puzzlingly similar to me, but now AATD has provided clarification:

"The US Army is actively contributing to Phase 1 of the DARPA MAR program. This [broad agency announcement] is complementary to the MAR program, not duplicative. The Reconfigurable Rotors program was broken into two phases so that both the Army and DARPA efforts would be aligned. At the end of MAR Phase 1, the Army will evaluate the maturity and risk levels of the MAR technologies, determine how they meet the Reconfigurable Rotors program objectives, and decide on the best course of action for Phase 2 of Reconfigurable Rotors. One potential outcome is a joint Army-DARPA MAR Phase 2 program. The Army remains interested in adaptive rotor technologies and looks forward to continued collaboration with DARPA."

The 12-month Phase 1 of Reconfigurable Rotors is called the Active Rotor Component Demonstration and is intended to mature active and passive technologies that can improve rotor performance. Areas of interest include active leading-edge slat actuation; rotor hubs designed to accommodate on-blade controls; spar designs to accommodate in-blade actuators; low power on-blade actuators; morphing tips; and multiple/segmented trailing-edge flaps.

13-07-10, 04:42 AM
Date: 12/07/2010

AgustaWestland and Thales Unveil Enhanced Airborne Surveillance and Control Capability

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, and Thales unveiled an enhanced Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) capability, at RNAS Yeovilton on 10th July during the Fleet Air Arm’s annual Air Day. The low cost, low risk capability builds upon the combat proven Sea King Mk7 ASaC Cerberus mission system and Searchwater 2000 radar, to provide enhanced operational effectiveness through the use of the next generation AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter. AgustaWestland and Thales have teamed to jointly explore the potential for this capability in advance of the keenly expected MoD requirement to replace the Sea King Mk7 ASaC aircraft after its planned retirement in 2016.

Nick Whitney, Senior VP UK Government Business Unit, AgustaWestland said “The AgustaWestland solution will deliver an enhanced, cost effective and low risk capability which exemplifies the role of an ASaC capability fit for the 21st century. The solution we have developed capitalises on the substantial investment already made by the MoD in both the helicopter and the excellent Thales Cerberus mission system and radar.” Ed Lowe, Chief Operating Officer of Thales UK said, “Sea King Mk 7 is a highly successful ASaC platform which has proved itself over land and sea. Thales looks forward to working with AgustaWestland to develop a proposal to transfer our Cerberus mission system to the AW101 platform. I am confident this will offer our customer a low cost, low risk method of delivering ASaC well into the future with no capability gap”.

The palletised Searchwater 2000 radar is deployed through the rear ramp aperture when in operation and stows in the cabin when not in use, enabling rapid transit between tasking. Two aft-facing modernised mission crew stations are located at the forward end of the cabin. The following key features and benefits are also included:

• Long range, look up/look down air, land and sea capability
• Human Machine Interface optimised for two man operation
• Fully integrated Link 16 Command and Control capability
• Modern platform extends 360 deg radar horizon and significantly increases mission range and endurance

The palletised ASaC equipment also enables a front line re-role capability delivering greater aircraft utility. The ASaC equipment could be role fitted to all AW101 utility variants.

13-07-10, 08:55 AM
I must admit that this is entirely expected, and it's probably what's going to happen... but I had hoped for more. In particular I hoped that the transition to a new platform could see the current Searchwater 2000 antenna switched for a larger AESA antenna (though still running through the Cerberus CMS). But I suppose it's still just possible as a spiral upgrade strategy sometime down the track.
I’ll also admit that I do like the idea of hanging the antenna out the back through the ramp (which was originally mooted for TOSS as memory serves), though I’d really like to see it with a Chinook.

13-07-10, 11:44 AM
I don't mind the fact its a roll-in/roll-out system...........the attena is liable for change within the next few years if what I read a number of months ago is true BUT UK lack of funding may preclude that until 2020 or so.............

14-07-10, 07:22 AM
Russia, China to design, build heavy-lift helicopter

19:38 13/07/2010© RIA Novosti. Vitaliy Arutunov

Mi-26: the most powerful helicopter ever to have gone into production. INFOgraphics.

Russia and China will cooperate in jointly developing and manufacturing a heavy-lift helicopter, a Russian deputy industry and trade minister said on Tuesday.

Denis Manturov said the new helicopter could be based on the Russian Mi-26 and that the two sides were currently discussing the new machine's specifications taking into account China's domestic needs.

"This machine will be oriented toward the Chinese market and the project will be commercial," he said.

The Mi-26 Halo, a heavy transport helicopter with civilian and military applications, is the largest and most powerful helicopter ever to have gone into production.

Manturov also said Russia and China would cooperate in manufacturing aircraft engines.

SHANGHAI, July 13 (RIA Novosti)

14-07-10, 01:05 PM
A bit more on the MERLIN ASaC.............


SOURCE:Flight International

Royal Navy offered AEW-configured AW101

By Craig Hoyle

AgustaWestland and Thales have stepped up their efforts to promote a development of the AW101 to replace the UK Royal Navy's venerable Sea King 7 airborne surveillance and control (ASaC) aircraft.

As the incumbent suppliers of the RN's organic airborne early warning capability, the companies have joined forces to offer the AW101 Merlin equipped with Thales's Searchwater 2000 radar and Cerberus mission system.

The RN's current 11 Sea King ASaC helicopters are due to be retired from use in 2016, and a new type is needed to operate from its two Queen Elizabeth-class future aircraft carriers. The selected type will be deployed alongside the UK's Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, as part of an embarked air wing of up to 40 aircraft.

AgustaWestland says the Searchwater system's distinctive radar "bag" will be deployed through a rear ramp aperture during operations, providing 360° surveillance coverage, or else stored inside the aircraft when not in use.

The Cerberus payload will be installed on a pallet, and two mission crew stations located towards the front of the aircraft's cabin. New capabilities would include the integration of a Link 16 datalink.

"The solution we have developed capitalises on the substantial investment already made by the MoD in both the helicopter and the Cerberus mission system and radar," says Nick Whitney, senior vice-president for AgustaWestland's UK government business unit.

Thales UK chief operating officer Ed Lowe says the design offers "a low-cost, low-risk method of delivering ASaC with no capability gap".

The RN's current rotorcraft inventory includes 37 Merlin HM1s, as listed in Flightglobal's HeliCAS database. These are used for multi-mission tasks, including anti-submarine warfare operations.

Meanwhile, AgustaWestland will give a show debut to its AW159 Lynx Wildcat at the Farnborough air show. The new model is being developed for use by the RN and British Army.

14-07-10, 02:15 PM
Just as a thought, what would people think of a small buy of afore mentioned palletized Cerberus system mounted into an MRH-90 for use by the ADF? The NH-90 should be able to carry the system, and the deployed AEW would be helpful in terms of potentiating the AWD and the embarked aviation assets of the LHDs. Though obviously it may cost a bit, and ideally one would buy additional airframes to deploy the system from.

16-07-10, 04:39 AM
Pentagon Sheds Some Light on JFTL Effort


Published: 15 Jul 2010 17:08

In response to questions posed by Congress in the conference report of the 2010 defense authorization bill, the Pentagon says it is developing an overarching vertical-lift road map, as well as planning to conduct an analysis of alternatives for the Joint Future Theater Lift (JFTL) program.

Both the road map and the JFTL study will have important implications for the advanced tilt-rotor industrial base, the Pentagon says.

While the JFTL study guidance has not formally been approved yet by defense acquisition executive Ashton Carter, the Army and Air Force have stood up a study team, said Lt. Col. Robert Wilson, the study's director for the Army. It is an Air Force-led effort, so for each Air Force lead, there is an Army deputy, he said.

While it awaits formal guidance, the team's members communicate weekly with each other via teleconference to keep the effort moving forward, Wilson said.

According to the Pentagon's responses to Congress, the JFTL study is critical to the Pentagon's overall vertical-lift plan.

If the road map and the JFTL alternatives study "suggest a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) platform is the appropriate path forward for the JFTL program and advanced tilt-rotor systems are the required method of propulsion, then the Department will engage the industrial base to assess possible tilt-rotor technology maturation alternatives and determine long-term tilt-rotor technology investment requirements," according to the Pentagon response, which is marked "For Official Use Only."

The only tilt-rotor program in the U.S. military's inventory is the V-22 Osprey, built by Bell and Boeing for the U.S. Marine Corps, the Air Force's special operations forces and, eventually, the Navy. The two companies have also developed a quad tilt-rotor concept for a potential JFTL program.

"A Joint tilt-rotor theater-lift platform could lead the way to a new generation of highly capable and efficient rotorcraft in various configurations and weight classes," the Pentagon says in its response to Congress. "Tilt-rotor technology can deliver major changes and enhancements to our capabilities, and the industrial base will undoubtedly continue to be a key consideration to our strategic Future Vertical Lift plan, regardless of the outcome of the Joint Future Theater Lift" analysis of alternatives.

Congress had also asked about the operational benefits of a VTOL heavy transport aircraft and whether they outweigh the less expensive costs of using a conventional fixed-wing aircraft for the same missions.

In its response, the Pentagon says the costs of heavy-lift VTOL technology are still being determined. "The Department is in the process of initially estimating the costs and benefits of such technology," the document reads.

However, the Pentagon makes a strong case for the operational benefits of heavy-lift VTOL platforms, highlighting their ability to operate in austere locations without airfields or runways.

"Such platforms may be capable of conducting long-range, over-the-horizon sustainment missions from sea basing," the response reads. "They may also support Special Operations Force strikes and raids."

Heavy-lift VTOL platforms also allow multiple entry and exit points into an area of operations, the Pentagon says. This can decrease the United States' "reliance on third-country clearances in order to conduct operations."

Finally, the Pentagon emphasizes that until the JFTL analysis of alternatives is complete, it will not know what type of capability it is pursuing. If the study suggests the Pentagon should go after advanced technologies, DoD will consider using prototype systems to help refine requirements and costs.

"Demonstrators and prototypes incur large upfront capital investments, but they also prove the concept ahead of any development or production commitment, which can reduce overall program risk and cost," the response reads.

19-07-10, 12:40 PM
Farnborough Air Show 2010

On site special coverage from the 2010 Farnborough International Air Show

Gray Suit

Posted by Douglas Barrie at 7/19/2010 3:24 AM CDT

The second AgustaWestland Lynx Wildcat is on the flight line at the show, though this airframe has yet to fly.

The second prototype is expected to get airborne in the latter half of August, as the manufacturer steps up development of the program for the Royal Navy and British Army Air Corps

The Wildcat’s two-tone gray color scheme is near representative of the camouflage the type will sport when it enters service in 2014.

Picture credit D.Barrie/AW&ST

19-07-10, 03:26 PM
AgustaWestland to Exhibit Three New Helicopters at the 2010 Farnborough International Air Show

(Source: AgustaWestland; issued July 13, 2010)

The AW159 Wildcat, formerly known as Future Lynx, is the first new British helicopter to be shown at the Farnborough air show in over 20 years. (AW photo)AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, will be exhibiting for the first time at Farnborough International Air Show (FIAS) three new helicopters – the GrandNew, AW159 and AW149.

In addition to these new products AgustaWestland will also have on display six more helicopters comprising offshore and coast guard variants of the best selling medium twin helicopter – the AW139, the AW109LUH light twin-engine multi-role military helicopter, the AgustaWestland Swidnik SW-4 5-place single engine helicopter, the AW101 15.6 ton multi-role helicopter and an Apache AH Mk.1 which has just returned from operations in Afghanistan.

Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland speaking ahead of the show said, “We will be exhibiting the widest range of helicopters we have ever displayed at this year’s show, highlighting AgustaWestland’s growing product range. Amongst the helicopters will be three new helicopters that have all flown for the first time in the last 12 months, emphasising AgustaWestland’s strong commitment to research and development and its focus on developing new products for the commercial and military markets.”


The AgustaWestland GrandNew light twin helicopter has achieved enormous market success in since its launch just five months ago and has already logged orders for over 50 units. The GrandNew is the first type certified light twin engine helicopter (CS/JAR/FAR 27) to enter service with a new EFIS featuring Synthetic Vision.

An evolution of the highly successful Grand helicopter, the GrandNew features a state-of-the-art avionics package and a new glass cockpit. The new full digital avionic system for single or dual pilot IFR operation incorporates Chelton’s Flight-Logic Synthetic Vision EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) with a FMS (Flight Management System), HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System), HITS (Highway In The Sky) and embedded flight recording functions to deliver ultimate situational awareness and groundbreaking automated flight management capabilities. This new technology package reduces pilot workload and brings significant safety benefits.

The GrandNew is also fitted with a four-axis dual duplex digital autopilot coupled with a Flight Director and with a new Radio Management System (RMS) permitting the centralized management of the communication and navigation systems, while the Integrated Display System (IDS) provides aircraft/engine data monitoring, crew alert and maintenance data pages. The GrandNew gives operators new opportunities to exploit rotorcraft capabilities and sets a new standard in the helicopter market.

The GrandNew has already received EASA certification while FAA certification expected soon. The GrandNew also meets the latest NTSB/FAA recommendations for EMS operations. Its distinctive characteristics make the GrandNew the ideal platform in its category for corporate/VIP transport, offshore transport, passenger transport, EMS, SAR, harbour pilot shuttle (HPS), coastal patrol and public service applications. By July 2010 orders for 290 Grand and GrandNew helicopters have been placed by more than 150 customers in over 30 countries.

AW159 Lynx Wildcat

The AW159, which will be known as the Lynx Wildcat in UK military service, is making its first ever appearance at Farnborough – the first new British helicopter to be shown in over 20 years.

Designed and developed to meet the UK MoD’s demanding requirements for a multi-role military helicopter the AW159 will be the most cost effective, capable and advanced helicopter in its class. The AW159 programme continues to progress towards full scale production having achieved every major milestone on time and on budget. 62 aircraft have been ordered by the UK Ministry of Defence for the Army and Royal Navy, to perform both land and maritime missions.

The first aircraft will be delivered in 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 utilising 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 programme for the UK MoD 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.


Having announced details of the AW149 programme at the 2006 FIAS AgustaWestland is exhibiting at Farnborough for the first time a full scale mock-up of the AW149 military multi-role helicopter. The first AW149 prototype flew for the first time AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant on 13th November 2009 and the second prototype aircraft is on track to fly later this year. The first production aircraft deliveries are planned for 2014. The first AW149 prototype is fully representative of the AW149 final configuration with respect to the airframe and avionics, whilst the second prototype will fly in the final configuration incorporating two 2000 shp class General Electric CT7-2E1 turbines with FADEC and an all new transmission system. With a fully digital avionics system with open architecture and fully integrated mission equipment, a modern glass cockpit and a 4-axis auto-pilot, the 8-ton class AW149 helicopter is specifically designed for modern battlefield operations.

The AW149 is fitted with the latest all weather day-night operational capabilities, dedicated avionics and a NVG-compatible cockpit, while rotor ice protection will be available as an option. The AW149, capable of seating up to 18 troops, is perfectly suited to perform a wide range of duties such as troop transport, battlefield and logistic operations, fire support, SAR and combat SAR, special forces operations, reconnaissance, surveillance, CASEVAC, command control & communication, external load lifting as well as VIP military transport. The AW149 has been developed to meet the Italian Air Force requirement for a new medium class SAR helicopter and is also being offered in the marketplace, to meet the demand for a modern technology helicopter to replace thousands of older generation helicopters in service with military operators worldwide. A customised version of the AW149, named the TUHP149, is the candidate for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme (TUHP).

Design and development work is being carried out utilising AgustaWestland’s facilities both in the UK and Italy. The AW149 project office is located at Yeovil in the UK whilst flight testing activity is being conducted at Cascina Costa in Italy.

AgustaWestland is located at OE1 and OE2 as part of Finmeccanica.


20-07-10, 03:54 AM
Another new Augusta westland helicopter, the A169............heavily orientated to the EMS and Police markets..........

AgustaWestland Unveils AW169 Helicopter

Posted by Bradley Peniston | July 19th, 2010

By TOM KINGTON, FARNBOROUGH, Britain – Italy’s AgustaWestland launched a new 4.5-ton, twin-engine helicopter at the Farnborough Air Show on July 19, saying that it will become a big seller with police forces.

AgustaWestland says its new AW169 is aimed at civil sales, but would make a good military helo as well. (AgustaWestland image)

At a launch ceremony attended by UK secretary of state for business Vince Cable, AgustaWestland leaders also stressed that the firm’s UK staff and facilities would be involved in the design and production of the new helicopter, dubbed the AW169.

“This is an opportunity for the UK to participate in a major new program to produce a helicopter that will become a market leader in its class,” said CEO Giuseppe Orsi, who predicted 1,000 unit sales in 20 years.

“AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil will be involved in design, development and production,” said Graham Cole, managing director. Yeovil would take responsibility for components including transmission and blades, he said.

“There will be need for production in more than one location, and the AW169s bought in the UK will be built in the UK, which will be the key to opening a line that can handle exports,” he said.

The 10-passenger helicopter, which will fit between the Grand and the AW139 in AgustaWestland’s lineup, will be designed for offshore, EMS, SAR, transport and police use, but Orsi did not rule out a military version.

“We’ll see; it would make a great Light Utility Helicopter,” he said.

“We have not been as successful as we should have been in the UK in the police market,” said Cole. “Now we should be able to change that, with Yeovil becoming a support base for the UK police.”

The AW169 is designed to host weather radar, FLIR, rescue hoist, cargo hook, searchlight and a medical interior. It will have a digital, night vision goggle compatible cockpit and be powered by two FADEC-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 turboshaft engines.

AgustaWestland’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat, which is being built for the Royal Navy and British Army, also made its Farnborough debut on July 19.

20-07-10, 04:34 AM
NOT really a Helicopter but a Gyrocopter............interesting looking design IF it ever flies and works as promised...........

FARN10: Introducing the 'Gyrojet' -- part autogyro, part jet

By Stephen Trimble on July 19, 2010 4:43 PM

Grasping at an opening in the market for a low-cost platform optimised for the booming aerial surveillance market, UK-based Gyrojet is single-handedly attempting to revive the autogyro.

The privately financed aerospace start-up is using the Farnborough air show to publicly reveal the Scorpion S3, a concept aircraft quietly in development since 2004.

The aircraft features a rotor mast that sweeps forward from the empennage at its base to the centre of gravity at the rotor hub, locately directly over the pilot's seat. In this configuration, the rotor mast doubles as a vertical stabiliser, with the rudder blended into the trailing edge. As an autogyro, the rotor mast is not required to contain a helicopter's bulky drive train and gearbox.

The aircraft can be powered in forward flight with either a piston or a gas turbine, says James Robb, sales and marketing director for Gyrojet advanced autogyros.

The company believes many law enforcement agencies want an aerial platform less costly to operate than a helicopter and with a more-effective low-speed envelope than a fixed-wing aircraft, Robb says. The Scorpion, a tail-dragger, takes-off after a short roll and requires a 25kt wind to remain airborne.

The aircraft model has successfully cleared wind tunnel testing, with the design proving more stable than initially hoped, says Robb. Deliveries could begin as early as 2012, and letters of intent from new customers are expected shortly by company officials.

20-07-10, 11:42 AM
Leading Edge

AW&ST On Technology

Oshkosh Debut for Electric Sikorsky

Posted by Graham Warwick at 7/19/2010 10:49 AM CDT

Sikorsky announced at Farnborough that it will unveil an all-electric helicopter demonstrator, the Firefly, at next week's AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The helicopter is a Schweizer-designed S-300C with its piston engine replaced with an electric motor and batteries.

Concept: Sikorsky

The 200hp motor and digital controller come from US Hybrid, which builds power conversion systems for trucks and buses. The energy storage system is from lithium-ion battery specialist Gaia. The cockpit is fitted with an LCD monitor to manage the system.

Prototyping specialist Eagle Aviation Technologies modified and assembled the helicopter for the Sikorsky Innovations R&D organization, First flight is planned later this year after completion of ground tests.

Sikorsky says the Firefly has a 300% higher propulsion efficiency than the piston-powered 300C, with fewer moving parts expected to increase reliability and decrease direct operating costs. No performance specs have been released.

EADS is developing a hybrid helicopter concept that uses two diesel engines driving generators and two lithium-ion battery packs to power electric motors on the main and tail rotors. No plans to fly a demonstrator have yet been revealed.

21-07-10, 03:44 PM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Thales delivers software for UK Chinook cockpit upgrade

By Craig Hoyle

Thales has delivered the software for the first Project "Julius" cockpit upgrade for the UK's Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter fleet, keeping the first modified example on track to fly later this year.

"We are finalising the qualification work now using a simulator, and will marry up the hardware and software in around one month," says Peter Hitchcock, vice-president avionics for Thales UK. Two of the Royal Air Force's aircraft are in modification at Fleetlands in Hampshire under the Boeing-led modification deal, signed in December 2008.

Modifications include the integration of new multifunction cockpit displays, a digital moving map and a tablet-based electronic flight bag. "We have re-used as much as possible from the core [Thales] TopDeck system," Hitchcock says.

"We're doing as much as we can to speed the introduction of this capability," he adds. "Every day lost is a day when someone wants it."

The Project Julius partners will upgrade the cockpits of 46 UK Chinooks, taking them to a new HC4 standard. A separate planned purchase of 24 Chinook HC6 transports will lead to the introduction of aircraft with similar cockpits, but also featuring Boeing's digital automatic flight control system to boost safety while landing in low-visibility conditions.

23-07-10, 03:25 AM
Sikorsky Innovations Introduces X2 Technology Light Tactical Helicopter Simulator

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued July 21, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., has unveiled an X2 Technology Light Tactical Helicopter (LTH) simulator that will provide potential customers with a tangible experience of the significant benefits of X2 Technology. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

X2 Technology combines an integrated suite of technologies to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate that a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low-speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed. Sikorsky introduced the X2 Technology demonstrator in 2005, and the program has been steadily progressing through flight testing with the goal of achieving the 250-knot speed later this year.

Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are fly-by-wire flight controls, counter-rotating rigid rotor blades, hub drag reduction, active vibration control, and an integrated auxiliary propulsion system.

"The X2 LTH simulator will demonstrate the military application of the capabilities that we are proving out with our X2 Technology demonstrator," said Teresa Carleton, Vice President, Mission Systems Integration. "With the simulator, we can fly a light tactical helicopter variation of the X2 Technology demonstrator through various mission scenarios, and demonstrate the advantages of speed, high agility, low acoustic signature, and low vibrations. It will be a tremendous, mobile tool that we can bring to potential customers to give them a 'hands on' sense of the flight and mission advantages we are bringing to the aviation landscape."

As the simulator program progresses, it will be enhanced to allow integration and demonstration of technologies that support advanced mission tactics, manned–unmanned teaming, and the optionally piloted helicopter program that Sikorsky Innovations is developing.

Sikorsky Innovations is an agile, networked group of Sikorsky employees and industry teammates dedicated to demonstrating innovative technology solutions to the toughest problems in vertical flight. Sikorsky Innovations is pursuing a broad range of advanced technologies, including X2 Technology high-speed helicopter, aware and adaptive aircraft systems, and optionally piloted aircraft.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in aircraft design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


27-07-10, 04:36 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Lynx Ousted as World's Fastest - Unofficially

Posted by Graham Warwick at 7/26/2010 2:26 PM CDT

Sikorsky says its X2 Technology demonstrator has reached 225kt (259mph) in flight tests - a milestone because it exceeds the word helicopter speed record of 216kt (249.1mph), set by a Westland Lynx in 1986.

Photo: Sikorsky

Record-setting G-LYNX was fitted with new blades developed under the British Experimental Rotor Program and now standard on AW101 and Lynx helicopters. The X2 has rigial coaxial rotors and a tail-mounted propulsor.

That propulsor makes the X2 a compound helicopter, so we Brits can console ourselves that the Lynx remains the fastest conventional helicopter - and will remain so even when Sikorsky achieves its avowed goal of exceeding 250kt.

G-LYNX also had uprated Rolls-Royce Gem 60 engines, cleared to their maximum contingency rating and further boosted by water methanol injection - so it was no standard Lynx. Sikorsky says the X2 will "cruise comfortably" at 250kt.

X2 tail (left to right) at 225kt, 181kt and first flight

The latest speed was set after the X2 was fitted with a redesigned tail to improve handling qualities and reduce pilot workload as speed increases. The attempt to achieve 250kt is now set for the third quarter, the company says.

04-08-10, 04:49 PM
CH-53K Helicopter Program Achieves Successful Critical Design Review

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued August 3, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation announced today the successful completion of the CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program Critical Design Review (CDR) event, signaling the program is ready to proceed to assembly, test and evaluation. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The joint Sikorsky/Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) CH-53K helicopter program team hosted a weeklong meeting in late July to gather stakeholders and key collaborators from government and industry for an in-depth aircraft design review. At the review, the CH-53K team successfully demonstrated that the design meets the system requirements, setting the stage for the next phase of the program. Review participants included members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, NAVAIR, Sikorsky Aircraft, and 21 major industrial partners who displayed component exhibits that augmented technical presentations.

Over the past four years, the CH-53K helicopter team has successfully completed numerous major reviews, including the System Requirements Review (SRR), System Functional Review (SFR), System Preliminary Design Review (PDR), 77 supplier-level Critical Design Reviews (CDR's), 64 supplier and internal software reviews, and 16 sub-system CDRs.

David Cohen, chairman of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Technical Review Board (TRB) emphasized the Board's approval with a "resounding yes," adding that "the CH-53K helicopter program is ready for full- scale development and manufacture of the test aircraft."

Completion of the System CDR event demonstrates that the CH-53K Helicopter Program continues to build on its strong design foundation. NAVAIR CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Integrated Product Team Co-lead, Lt. Col. Hank Vanderborght noted, "We have a program that sits squarely on solid technical ground, and our team continues to work diligently as we mitigate all schedule and cost risks."

Over 93% of the design has been released for manufacturing. System-level performance projections indicate all seven Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) will be achieved with adequate risk mitigation margin built-in for subsequent phases of the program. The team is ready to move into fabrication and assembly of test articles, component qualification, and flight test.

"This successful CDR confirms the program is on the right track and is a significant step forward for the CH-53K helicopter program," said John Johnson, Sikorsky Program Manager for the CH-53K helicopter program. "Sikorsky and NAVAIR are well aligned in this collaborative effort, and this CDR brings us closer to delivering a vital tool to the U.S. Marine Corps' future heavy lift mission."

Sikorsky has been building CH-53 helicopters for the Marine Corps since the CH-53A aircraft was introduced in 1963. The heavy lift mission is currently performed by the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter models that have logged a cumulative total of 1.37 million flight hours in over 40 years.

Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract on April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. The new aircraft program is planned to include production of more than 200 aircraft. Currently, the CH-53K helicopter is in the SDD phase with all of the major subcontracts awarded and valued at over $1.1B.

"This milestone is a turning point for our program," said Mike Torok, Sikorsky Vice-President and Chief Engineer for Marine Corps Programs, and Chief Engineer for the CH-53K. "The final design definition, which meets NAVAIR and USMC requirements, is concluding, and now we move on to the test and verification part of the program.

"Parts are being made throughout the supply base and at our new Precision Component Technology Center; test facilities are being fabricated and prepped for installation in our recently opened ground test facility; the integrated simulation facility is marching toward a late 2010 opening, already having received the first increment of software for the aircraft; and the final assembly facility in West Palm Beach is being prepared to start building the ground and flight vehicles early next year. It's time now to prove out our design and show that this helicopter system will indeed meet the war fighting requirements of the USMC and give them exceptional mission performance from a platform that is affordable and supportable for many years to come," Torok added.

The CH-53K helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "hot/high" ambient conditions. The CH-53E helicopter is currently the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment and to carry external (sling) cargo loads.

The CH-53K helicopter's maximum gross weight (MGW) with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K's MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds as compared to 73,500 for the CH-53E helicopter.

Features of the CH-53K helicopter include: a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability. The program is expected to achieve the Initial Operational Capability milestone in FY18.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


06-08-10, 02:19 AM
U.K. Chinook Plans Coalesce

Aug 5, 2010

By Michael A. Taverna, Douglas Barrie
Farnborough and Paris, Farnborough and Paris

The future of the U.K.’s heavy-lift rotary force is further taking shape with the Julius cockpit upgrade heading toward its first flight and a follow-on deal for 24 more CH-47s possible by year-end.

The Julius cockpit is also believed to be the configuration baseline for the additional Chinook order.

The additional 24 helicopters will be designated as Chinook Mk6s in Royal Air Force Service. Those undergoing the Julius upgrade will be known as Mk4s.

With the U.K. in the midst of a challenging Strategic Defense and Security Review—due for publication in late October—there has been some speculation within industry that the ministry’s rotary requirements could again be restructured. At present, the aim is to field a fleet of 70 Chinooks. Some have suggested that the Chinook order would be negotiated in two batches, with only the first guaranteed for purchase. Contract negotiations between the ministry and Boeing, however, are based on all 24 helicopters.

The first 10 helicopters will almost certainly be supplied from the Boeing production site in Philadelphia, to meet the 2013 target date for delivery. The final assembly site for the remaining 14 has yet to be decided, with U.K. locations also being considered.

Julius was kicked off in December 2008 under an urgent operational request (UOR) to enhance the operability and safety of the Royal Air Force’s Chinook Mk2/2A fleet by fitting it with a digital flight deck suitable for night and all-weather flight. The Chinooks are used by Britain’s Joint Helicopter Command for a wide range of missions, including troop transport, resupply and medical evacuation. The type is a key element of the U.K.’s rotary capability in Afghanistan.

The program initially covered eight helicopters but in January 2009 was expanded to include all 46 units in the fleet, including eight Mk3s acquired in 2007 and currently being reconfigured to Mk2/2A configuration under the Mk3 reversionprogram. The first three Mk3s have been delivered and the other five are to follow by year-end. The Mk3 program proved highly problematic because the U.K. was unable to certify the avionics software. This was mainly due to the requirement being only loosely specified in key areas.

Boeing is leading the £408-million ($637-million) Julius project. Thales is supplying the glass cockpit and Vector Aerospace, Boeing’s partner in the undertaking, is installing the first eight kits. The upgrade also includes the installation of a nose-mounted forward- looking infrared detector, improved secure communications and Honeywell T55-714 turboshaft engines with full authority digital engine control, in place of the existing Textron Lycoming T55-L712Fs, that will increase power by 20%.

The U.K. Mk6s will be equipped with a Boeing digital flight-control system to improve safety in low-visibility conditions. No irrevocable decision has been taken on extending Julius to these machines, with deliveries beginning in 2012. However, Peter Hitchcock, vice president helicopter avionics at Thales UK, says the open architecture employed in TopDeck provides an upgrade path through 2050, including further life enhancements to the Chinook fleet beyond Julius.

In a presentation here on July 20, Hitchcock said the cockpit upgrade will consist of a Thales Top Deck interactive avionics suite with four 6 X 8-in. multifunction screens for primary flight and moving map display, along with a new radio management system, electronic standby instrumentation and a tablet-format electronic flight bag (EFB) for enhanced tactical functionality.

The center tactical instrument panel will be retained, along with existing sensor interfaces, to facilitate interoperability with other units in the field. The TopDeck suite on Chinook will not be to the standard of, say, the Sikorsky S76D, the most advanced helicopter flight deck that Thales has supplied to date. “The UOR requires that the upgrade be quick and inexpensive,” Hitchcock says. “So our guideline was to reuse as many core elements of TopDeck as possible without disturbing the core.”

Hitchcock said Thales had recently shipped an initial shipset of hardware for the first of two aircraft set aside to qualify the upgrade, and is currently finalizing software for flight qualification using a simulator. The software and hardware will be married up in about a month, he said. A second aircraft is entering transformation and the first flight is expected toward year-end.

Two iterations of software are expected before final delivery, Hitchcock said. Initial units are to be handed over in late 2011 and initial operating capability should be reached shortly afterward, according to Boeing. The majority of the machines are to be deployed by 2015.

Thales thinks that the EFB tablet has significant potential for future retrofit applications, both fixed- and rotary-wing. The tablet will be of iPad-size, carry a trackball, and be stowable, with limited functionality in stowed position.

Photo: RAF

17-08-10, 04:02 AM
MV-22 Osprey Or CH-53K As Marine’s Next “Heavy” Lifter?

By Craig Hooper
Defense Tech Naval Warfare Analyst

In a little-noticed deployment shift, deputy commandant for aviation, Lt. General Trautman told Inside the Navy that the 40-year old CH-53D choppers are retiring before their previously reported FY18 and FY19 sundown dates. Fine. But then Trautman used his July 28 interview to quietly change policy, claiming that MV-22s–not Sikorsky’s new heavy-lift CH-53Ks–were going to replace the CH-53D helos!

What’s with that? What does it mean for the Post-Afghanistan Marine Corps?

Ospreys were originally slated to replace CH-53D “medium lift” helicopters, but at some point in 2007–8, the Marine Corps formally decided replace their aging CH-53Ds with CH-53Ks.

Look at the numbers–The FY 2010 Marine Corps Aviation plan (warning: big .pdf)– suggested the three remaining 10-ship squadrons of CH-53Ds would meld into two “plus-uped” 16-ship CH-53D squadrons in FY11. Those two squadrons would then be among the first to upgrade to the CH-53K in FY18 and 19 (the third squadron, now stripped of aircraft, would go into cadre status and transfer to MV-22s in FY16). So while the Osprey got an extra squadron, the CH-53Ks replaced the Deltas on a one for one basis.

The shift has been pretty sudden. As late as April 13, 2010, Trautman was telling the Senate this:

“The new build CH-53K will replace the current legacy fleet of CH-53D and CH-53E helicopters with an aircraft that provides the performance necessary to support our future warfighting requirements. The CH-53D Sea Stallion and CH-53E Super Stallion provide unparalleled combat heavy lift to the MAGTF and…flying well above their programmed rates in austere, expeditionary conditions.”

But four months later, he’s telling Inside the Navy (no link, sorry) this:

“The key will be, ‘When can I get V-22s ready to replace them [the CH-53Ds]?’” he said. “And by replace them, I mean if Afghanistan continues, right now I have two medium-lift requirements in Afghanistan. What I want to be able to do is get enough V-22 squadrons on the West Coast so I can put a West Coast V-22 side-by-side with an East Coast V-22 in Afghanistan. That’s going to be the pacing. When I can do that, that’ll be the start of getting CH-53 Delta out of the way.”

Well, the planned MV-22 squadrons at Miramar–are set to start coming online in FY 2011 with six coming online by FY 2012.

So what does this all mean for the Marine Corps?

First, if the CH-53Ds go away, won’t that throw off the long-planned “balancing” of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in Hawaii (though the plan has just been “publicly” announced, this has been in the works for a while) Over the course of the next ten years the 24th MAG–a unit currently flying just CH-53Ds, would become a more balanced unit–getting an unmanned aircraft unit, VMU-3 in FY12, a light-attack helicopter unit HMLA-367 in FY12, and two new MV-22 units in FY15 and 16.

But by slashing the CH-53Ds early, the 24th MAG, in essence, loses two squadrons of “heavy/medium” lift helos. All their CH-53s go away.

If that is the case, so much for the “training based” expansion of the 24th MAG to help Hawaii-based Marines “train-as-they-fight”.

Or is it? Might this deployment shift be something of a tip-of-the-hand–showing us where the Marine Corps wants to go post-Afghanistan?

Second, what will happen with the CH-53K? If the 30-odd CH-53Ds vanish, will the CH-53K program of record shrink along with ‘em? You’d think that, after passing it’s Critical Design Review in July, Lt. General Trautman would give the CH-53K program some love. But…that’s not the case. Or, despite the good news, is the CH-53K program still having a tough time getting underway?

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2010/08/16/osprey-or-ch-53/#more-8679#ixzz0wpBRXlHd

17-08-10, 02:18 PM
New Threat Detection Capabilities Ready to Test

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued August 16, 2010)

WASHINGTON --- A new system being developed to give helicopter crews a “heads up” when they’re being attacked, as well as the shooter’s location, is slated to ship to Afghanistan in October to see how it stands up under combat conditions.

The Helicopter Alert and Threat Termination system, being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, promises to warn aircrews of incoming small-arms or machine-gun fire with enough time to take evasive action and launch a counterattack, said Karen Wood, the program manager.

It works by using advanced sensors able to detect the supersonic shock wave or “crack” produced by a bullet in flight and pinpointing its source, she explained.

The program, known as HALTT, taps into technology that Wood’s DARPA team already developed for ground vehicles.

The CROSSHAIRS – or Counter Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Responses – program aims to develop a threat detection and countermeasure system for light tactical vehicles.

CROSSHAIRS will be able to detect and locate enemy shooters firing threats ranging from bullets to rocket-propelled grenades to anti-tank guided missiles to direct-fired mortars, Wood said. In addition, it will engage the shooters and notify other friendly forces of the threat.

The CROSSHAIRS program builds on yet another DARPA effort: the Boomerang II acoustic gunshot detection system. The vehicle-mounted anti-sniper system “listens” for a bullet’s shockwave and muzzle blast and transmits the shooter’s location to the vehicle crew – all in less than a second.

Thousands of Boomerang II systems already are in the combat theater, and troops on the ground credit them with high accuracy and few false alarms, Wood said.

Wood got a first-hand report of their effectiveness from a participant at a conference she was attending in San Diego.

“Were you involved in the Boomerang program?” a man asked her. “Well, I just want you to know that it saved my son’s life.” He went on to share the story of a unit under attack, a bullet that barely missed its target, and how Boomerang engaged before the next bullet hit.

But transferring that capability to helicopters presents new challenges, largely because of aircraft noise that muffles out blasts and rotor blade downwash that plays havoc with supersonic shock waves.

“So technically, this was very, very challenging compared to ground vehicles,” Wood said. “You had to think about the problem a little bit differently.”

Working closely with the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command, DARPA used Boomerang as a starting point as it went about developing a similar capability for helicopters.

The initial result, a prototype HALTT system, showed great promise when it was put through testing at Fort Rucker, Ala., and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Wood reported.

The initial tests were conducted aboard an Army UH-60L Black Hawk, but the testing then extended to a SOCOM MH-47 Chinook to gauge how HALTT technology translates to different air platforms.

During four flight tests at Fort Rucker, “the systems just kept getting better and better,” Wood said. HALTT performed so well, in fact, that the military pressed to get Phase 1 prototypes into the combat theater even as DARPA further refines the program. So beginning in October, helicopter crews in Afghanistan will get the capability HALTT provides, as well as a chance to weigh in on its development.

“What will be really helpful for us is that they will be able to use the system, and they’ll probably use it in ways that we haven’t even thought of. That’s certainly what we found to be the case from Boomerang,” Wood said.

“We expect them to give us some really good feedback,” she continued. “What we’re hoping for is to get valuable feedback for this next phase of the program: This is what they like or didn’t like, and ‘Can you make it do this … ?’ But at the same time, they will have a capability there that they simply never had before.”

Meanwhile, Wood’s team will incorporate this feedback while moving into the second phase of the HALTT development program.

Among the things they’ll explore are ways to make the system more effective when the helicopter is hovering and generates the heaviest rotor wash, to overcome extra noise from dual-rotor aircraft, and to use existing helicopter display panels to convey alert warnings to aircrews.

In addition, plans call for more vigorous in-air testing when HALTT is installed in a Maverick unmanned aerial vehicle.

Wood praised cooperation between the Army, Socom and DARPA that’s enabled the program to advance so quickly. “They have really stepped up and done an incredible job,” she said. “The program has proceeded rapidly compared to a normal acquisition program.”

Regina Dugan, DARPA’s director, quantified the program’s pace during congressional testimony in March. “From funding allocation to live-fire test completion, this effort took an unprecedented five months, and will be fielded in less than a year from identification of the need,” she told a House Armed Services subcommittee.

But beyond the development timeline, Dugan expressed particular enthusiasm about the new capabilities HALTT, as well as CROSSHAIRS, will bring to warfighters on the ground. Both systems “promise to make it very dangerous to shoot at U.S. forces,” she said, “because the first shot may well be the adversary’s last.”


19-08-10, 03:44 AM
Sikorsky Breaks Speed Record With X2 Helicopter — Again — But Is It Really a Helicopter?

Prototype Hits 235 Knots — Amid Dispute About Whether It's Truly A Helicopter

A demonstration model of Sikorsky's X2 aircraft is seen in May on a test flight near the company's testing facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Sikorsky Aircraft / August 18, 2010)

By ERIC GERSHON, egershon@courant.com

August 18, 2010

Sikorsky Aircraft's quest to produce the world's fastest helicopter raises one question above all: How fast?

As of Tuesday, the date of the X2 prototype's most recent flight, the answer was 235 knots, the latest increase in a steady advance toward the avowed goal of 250 knots, or 287 mph. That's nearly 100 knots faster than conventional modern helicopters' top speed.

Another, more philosophical question has also been popping up lately: Is the X2 really a helicopter?

Stratford-based Sikorsky, one of the world's biggest, most famous helicopter makers, says yes. But in the wonky world of aviation enthusiasts, there's debate. And Sikorsky's steady stream of public announcements about the X2's boundary-pushing progress has prompted some observers to raise the question — and answer it with a resounding no.

"The X2 is a compound aircraft, not a true helicopter," said Elfan Ap Rees, the editor of Helicopter International magazine in Great Britain, who objected after Sikorsky's July 26 statement that the X2 had reached 225 knots, setting an unofficial speed record. "…The X2 is a fine technological achievement with great promise and Sikorsky should be proud of that and not belittle its success with inaccurate claims."

The 5,000-pound, single-pilot X2 has one engine, two counter-rotating main rotors on top — and a rear "pusher" propeller to give it extra thrust.

Geoff Russell, a spokesman for AgustaWestland, a Sikorsky competitor in Europe, also said the X2 does not qualify as a "pure helicopter" because it generates power from a device other than the main rotor atop the aircraft.

"The X2 therefore will not be able to claim the speed record set by the Lynx helicopter in 1986," he said, referring to the souped-up version of a Westland helicopter still on record as the fastest.

(According to the Washington-based National Aeronautic Association, a non-profit U.S. organization that certifies aviation records, a Westland Lynx remains the record-holder for speed, at 216 knots, or 249 mph. Sikorsky plans to invite an NAA representative to attend a test flight of the X2 once it reaches 250 knots, expected later this year.)

But Sikorsky is making no apologies for its innovations, and confidently insists the X2 is no mere rotorcraft, a broad term that includes helicopters, but a bona fide helicopter.

"We stand by our claims," company spokeswoman Marianne Heffernan wrote in an e-mail.

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale — an international organization based in Switzerland that certifies world aviation records (and which X2 critic Elfan Ap Rees serves as honorary president of the rotorcraft committee) — defines helicopter in a way that would appear to include the X2.

Section 9 of the group's Sporting Code for rotorcraft, available on the NAA website, says a helicopter is a "rotorcraft which, in flight, derives substantially the whole of its lift from a power-driven rotor system whose axis (axes) is (are) fixed and substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rotorcraft."

By the FAI's own definition, Sikorsky's X2 seems to fit. It generates lift from its main rotors — the ones on top — which spin on an axis perpendicular to the lengthwise axis of the aircraft's body.

While the axis of the pusher prop is horizontal, like the aircraft's lengthwise axis, the pusher prop does not generate lift — only thrust, Sikorsky said. The X2 does not rely on wings for lift, or anything else; it has none.

"The X2 demonstrator is considered a pure helicopter because all of its lift is derived from its rotor system rather than being augmented by wings," Steve Weiner, Sikorsky's director of engineering sciences and head engineer for the X2, said in a statement. "No other helicopter meeting these criteria has cruised at 250 knots to date."

Other helicopter-like aircraft have traveled at 250 knots and faster, such as the V-22 Osprey, a high-speed aircraft made by a partnership of Bell Helicopter and The Boeing Co. But it has large wings and two dramatically adjustable rotors. The experimental Bell 533, which traveled at more than 270 knots, had stub wings and jet engines.

Whatever the squabbles among helicopter purists, advances in aircraft technology are blurring the lines between long-recognized types of flying machines — even for people who have been flying them for decades.

"It's actually a good question," said Jay Brown, a former Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam who is the executive director of the Combat Helicopter Pilots Association. "It's come up before when we talk about people who are eligible for membership in our organization."

Brown said his group has concluded that the V-22, for example, a so-called tilt-rotor helicopter, should not count as a helicopter, because its rotors swivel from a horizontal to a vertical orientation for forward travel.

"The V22 is not a helicopter," he said in an interview. "When it shifts from hovering flight to forward flight, it becomes an airplane." (Boeing, one of the V-22's producers, agrees, describing it as a tiltrotor aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but converts into a turboprop airplane.)

Brown says the X2, despite the pusher propeller at its rear, meets his concept of a helicopter, because its top-mounted rotor system "stays where you expect a helicopter rotor system to be."

"If you were in theory to remove the rotor system, it would stop flying," Brown said of the X2. "It has to have the rotor system spinning in order to maintain flight. I think it's still a helicopter."

The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, near Philadelphia, keeps things simple by opting for a flexible definition.

Said president Sean Saunders, "It changes with every new invention."

26-08-10, 03:39 PM
CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program Conducts Successful Auxiliary Power Unit 'Light-Off'

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued August 25, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- The CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program has achieved "Ready to Load" (RTL) condition with the successful light-off of its first Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) engine. The achievement signals that the program is ready to begin formal integration testing in early 2011. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The APU provides power to a 45KVA generator, a 58-horsepower hydraulic pump and hydraulic starter, and also provides bleed air to an environmental control system and main engine start system. It is used for ground operations, main engine start, and conditions when main electrical power provided by the aircraft's main generators is lost. It is a critical element of the aircraft's design.

"This successful test is yet another giant step forward for the CH-53K helicopter program. Compared to its predecessor, the CH-53E helicopter, the CH-53K helicopter will offer better durability and reliability, which translates into lower life-cycle costs for the customer," said John Johnson, CH-53K helicopter program manager.

The APU achieved RTL condition after light-off at 100 percent speed sustained for 30 seconds. The engine is now being prepared for safety of flight testing and accomplishing the on-time delivery of hardware for the ground test vehicle.

The APU Light-Off test was conducted at the San Diego facility of Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies Corp. business unit. Hamilton Sundstrand (HS) is the primary supplier for the secondary power system for the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program. HS is providing the APU, environmental control system (ECS), and the main engine start system consisting of an air turbine starter and start control valve.

The entire APU development and qualification program will involve 13 engines – seven for Hamilton Sundstrand and six for Sikorsky. The APU is a critical part of the secondary power system on the CH-53K helicopter, providing a pressurized air source ("bleed air") for the Hamilton ECS and main engine start system, as well as shaft power for the Goodrich 45KVA generator and Eaton 58- horsepower hydraulic pump.

Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract on April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. The new aircraft program is planned to include production of more than 200 aircraft. Currently, the CH-53K helicopter is in the SDD phase with all major subcontracts awarded and valued at over $1.1 billion.

The CH-53K helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "hot high" ambient conditions. The CH-53E helicopter is currently the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment and to carry external (sling) cargo loads.

The CH-53K helicopter's maximum gross weight (MGW) with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K's MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds as compared to 73,500 for the CH-53E helicopter.

Features of the CH-53K helicopter include: a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability. The program is expected to achieve the Initial Operational Capability milestone in fiscal year 2018

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


16-09-10, 02:38 PM
Eurocopter & ATE Begin Firing Tests on Weapons System for Light Helicopters

(Source: Eurocopter; issued Sept. 15, 2010)

MIDRAND, South Africa --- Eurocopter, the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer, and Advanced Technologies & Engineering (ATE), South Africa’s aerospace systems integrator, 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 programme.

The EC635 participating in the flight test programme 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.

Describing the SAWS programme’s significance, ATE CEO, Jean-Marc Pizano said: “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.”

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
-- Anti-terrorism
-- 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.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.

Established in 1984 by a group of French aeronautical engineers, ATE, which specialises in Systems Integration, has built up an international track record of being able to integrate the most Modern Weapons Systems on new or operational aircraft. ATE has developed the Rooivalk Avionics Suite, developed a new Navigation and Weapons System for the Spanish Mirage F1s, upgraded Mi-24s and Mi-17s with new day/night sighting and weapons systems and has recently secured a System Engineering contract with a Specialist Company in Malaysia for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Recently, ATE has completed the development and production of the Hawk Mk 120 Navigation and Weapons Systems for the new SAAF Advanced Trainer, whilst developing Tactical and Mini Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for the South African Army Artillery Formation and International Customers.


16-09-10, 02:48 PM
Sikorsky X2 Achieves 250 Knots

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued Sept. 15, 2010)

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 technology demonstrator today successfully achieved a speed of 250 knots true air speed in level flight at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center, 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.

'I’m proud of what the X2 Technology team has accomplished,' Bredenbeck said. 'This was truly a collaborative effort that demanded a tremendous sacrifice from the full team. This dedication enabled the demonstrator to hit this historically high mark.'

The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate that a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low-speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed.

The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding for the program’s development.

Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering, said: 'The X2 Technology program is an initiative of our Sikorsky Innovations team, and today it offers a clear and exciting validation of our ability to take on the toughest challenges in vertical flight.'


22-09-10, 02:27 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Dutch to upgrade Cougar helicopters

By Anno Gravemaker

The Dutch defence ministry has announced plans to perform a mid-life update for its 17 Eurocopter AS532 Cougar transport helicopters from 2012.

To extend operations of the type until 2026, the work is required because changed regulations mean that the aircraft - received from 1996 - do not conform with modern navigation requirements. Eurocopter will also halt the delivery of some current spare parts in 2015.

The MLU programme will install new distance-measuring equipment and a VHF radio, plus systems that will enable the Cougar to use updated military GPS. Other enhancements will include a satellite communication system, Link 16 datalink and Tetra radios to support civilian emergency services.

In the cockpit, the aircraft will get digital maps that will enable pilots to see both tactical and navigational symbols on one screen, and a new forward-looking infrared sensor will also be acquired.

© Bill Graveland/Rex Features
The Netherlands has previously deployed its Cougars to Afghanistan

Eurocopter will upgrade the first two helicopters starting in 2012, with the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation to modify the remaining examples at its Woensdrecht maintenance centre by 2017.

The project budget is between €50 million ($65.6 million) and €100 million, including upgrades to a flight simulator.

The Cougar was used by Dutch forces in Afghanistan prior to their withdrawal from the NATO-led mission in the country last month.

23-09-10, 03:13 PM
Lynx Wildcat to Get ESM Upgrade

(Source: Selex Galileo; web-posted Sept. 22, 2010)

A recent contract award will see SELEX Galileo upgrade the UK MoD Lynx Wildcat helicopter's Defensive Aid Suite with a new Electronic Support Measure (ESM) capability.

The upgrade, which requires no additional hardware, enables the end user to obtain larger amounts of data on potential threats via enhancing parametric data outputs.

This added capability facilitates greater situational awareness of the Radio Frequency (RF) environment.


28-09-10, 03:21 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Eurocopter Sees Sikorsky X2, Raises

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 9/27/2010 11:17 AM CDT

Eurocopter's unveiling of its new X3 high-speed helicopter prototype is covered on our business aircraft blog by Robert Wall, but since this is a concept with as many military/security applications as commercial uses, I thought I would echo the coverage here and reproduce my comment's on Robert's post.

First reaction - Grandmere - c'est toi?

What were then called convertiplanes were all over the place in the 1950s - this one is the Sud-Ouest Farfadet, developed by one of Eurocopter's ancestor companies - and in the 1960s, when they were called compound helicopters.

What is new on the X3 is that Eurocopter appears to be using differential power/pitch on the props to counter torque instead of a tail rotor or fantail. That looks like the big difference between X3 and the compound helos of the 1960s. Both the props and the rotor appear to be driven off a common transmission by the two turboshaft engines.

How does this compare to the US solution, the tilt-rotor? Bad news: You still have the old compound-helo problem of driving the rotor sideways through the sky, which may result in efficient cruise speed capping out at a lower figure.

Good news: You can size the rotor to be a rotor, keeping normal disk loading and downwash velocity and avoiding the portable tornado that the V-22 carries in its wake; the propellers and rotor are both more efficient; and the design is probably more structurally efficient without the heavy prop-rotors at the end of stiff wings.

This also doesn't look as though it will be as fast as the Sikorsky X2 (talk about designation one-upmanship) but you also avoid the potential interference issues of a close-coupled coaxial. Overall, however, the big difference between X3 and older compound helicopters is the state of conventional rotor technology, compared to the 1960s: computational fluid dynamics make it possible to design more subtle rotor shapes. composites allow you to build them, and the technology of the hub has also advanced.

Result: with luck you can go 220 knots and up - the X3 goal - without burning a whole lot of fuel and killing your range, which was the death of the compound in the 1960s. The AH-56A Cheyenne, impressive-looking as it was, needed almost 4,000 shp to dash at 212 knots.

All time favourite unrealised helicopter!

Meanwhile, military and security users are looking at greater range. Satcoms and GPS allow a ship in distress to signal accurately from anywhere, so the limiting factor for a rescue can often be time and distance. Military users are focusing on distributed operations, which may call for carrying smaller loads over a greater range; and in a theatre as large and as thinly populated as Afghanistan, high speed could be a huge advantage for casualty evacuation.

28-09-10, 03:24 AM
Business Aviation Now

Eurocopter Unveils High-Speed X3 Helo

Posted by Robert Wall at 9/27/2010 9:12 AM CDT

Eurocopter has lifted the veil on its X3 demonstrator. This high-speed helicopter is to deliver a forward speed of more than 220 knots.

(credit: Eurocopter)

Flight trials of the X3 are already underway. The twin-turboshaft powered helicopter uses two propellers on a short wing for forward speed, with a five-blade main rotor.

Eurocopter at one point explored the idea of a tiltrotor, but in recent years has gone cold on the design idea. The company says the X3, or H3 for High-speed, long-range Hybrid Helicopter, could be used for military applications as well as search-and-rescue operations and other roles.

Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling, in unveiling the design, says “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.”

Flight trials began September 6 at the French Istres test center. Trials will run through December, when the helo will undergo planned updates, before a new test campaign is to start in March when speed is slated to top the 220 knot target.

28-09-10, 03:37 AM
Video of the same...........

28-09-10, 06:54 AM
Front view............

06-10-10, 03:52 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Joint Multi Role -- a JSF With Rotors

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/5/2010 11:38 AM CDT

The US Army is kicking off a program to demonstrate technology for a family of rotorcraft that could eventually replace its entire fleet of helicopters - attack, reconnaissance, utility and cargo - as well as Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force helos.

Officials from the Army's Aviation and Missile Research and Development Engineering Center are briefing industry on the "approved and funded" plans here at the International Powered Lift Conference in Philadelphia.

The Joint Multi Role (JMR) technology demonstration is modelled on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) concept demonstration phase, with plans to fly two competing clean-sheet aircraft in FY2017.

There is one key difference - the demonstrators have to be sized so the configurations can be scaled down to replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scout or up to replace the heavylift CH-47 Chinook as the Army does not know which fleet will need replacing first.

They do know that the same attributes - increased speed, range, payload, survivability and reliability - will be required whichever class of vehicle is developed first. They are looking at advanced and compound helicopters as well as tiltrotors.

Whichever platform ends up taking the lead, the goal is to have the technology ready for a decision to launch development in 2020 and achieve initial operational capability in 2026 - about the same timescale as the original JSF program.

My colleague Robert Wall in London says news of the JMR tech demo reminds him of a story he wrote for Aerospace Daily in 1998 on the Pentagon's plans for a Joint Advanced Rotorcraft Technology (JART) program modeled on the Joint Advanced Strike Technology program that was the precursor to JSF.

A year later Robert was writing that JART was dead, nixed by the services because it was unaffordable. We will have to wait and see what happens to JMR. This time round the services are desperate for better rotorcraft and a few hundred million dollars are available for the technology demonstration. Maybe the time is right.

08-10-10, 04:20 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Chop Chop

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 10/8/2010 7:53 AM CDT

"Expect something from Sikorsky inside a couple of months", company manager for advanced programs Jim Kagdis said at the International Powered Lift Conference in Philadelphia on Tuesday. As the X2 program winds down - the demonstrator is designed for a limited life, and Sikorsky plans to place it with the Smithsonian after a couple more sorties - the company is pitching the idea of replacing the Army's Kiowa Warriors and Special Forces AH-6 and MH-6 Little Birds with an X2-technology aircraft.

That is also the goal of the Army's Armed Aerial Scout program, currently in the analysis of alternatives stage with a report due next year.

Sikorsky showed a full-scale mockup of its Light Tactical Helicopter (LTH) design at last year's Association of the US Army convention in Washington DC, but Kagdis would not be drawn on whether the company plans to announce a new initiative at the 2011 event later this month.

Kagdis said that the company sees the LTH as having the most potential for an early transition of the X2 to production. He also stressed that the X2 concept is not just about speed: the program started with four key performance parameters (speed, low workload, low vibration and low noise) and that as the project progressed, the company recognized also that the high power required for speed woulkd translate into much improved hot-and-high performance.

The X2 just completed some acoustic tests with the pusher propeller shut down and the speed of the main rotors reduced. Its remaining tasks include testing a "sail" fairing on the rotor mast - not to increase speed but to reduce drag at speed, critical to achieving long range with a coaxial design.

Kagdis did not hand out copies of his IPLC presentation, but outlined an LTH with a normal takeoff weight of 8950 pounds and a max of 10500 pounds (about the size of a classic AH-1G Cobra), powered by a single 3,000 hp engine. Despite its size, the relatively small rotor diameter (33 feet) and lack of a tail rotor give it an "operating length" between that of the Kiowa Warrior and the Little Bird, while the high installed power allows it to hover at 14,000 feet - today's helicopters, Kagdis says, cannot hover over 40 per cent of Afghanistan, but the LTH can cover 97 per cent of the country.

Small size would make it easier to operate in mountains or urban canyons, the ability to pull 2.9 g turns would cut turn radius, and the X2 layout can (unlike a conventional helicopter) accelerate and decelerate in a flat attitude.

It's an interesting prospect, An early LTH program would depend on the Army's ability to find the money and the politics of a competition - as in the early days of the V-22 program, the problem is that no US company other than Sikorsky has a comparable aircraft at the same maturity level.

But the Connecticut company is clearly preparing to take a shot at jump-starting rotorcraft development. If I was doing it, I'd think about a teaming arrangement, and I'd go with Boeing and its tool-kit of Apache and AH-6 pieces.

09-10-10, 04:14 AM
U.S. Army Rotorcraft Initiative Draws Praise

Oct 8, 2010

By Graham Warwick

Finally heeding the helicopter industry’s dire warnings of a production gap beyond 2020, the U.S. Army is launching a program to fly technology demonstrators for advanced rotorcraft that could enter production around 2025.

The Army is working to bring other U.S. services into the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstration, which is modeled on the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program that led to development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The move comes more than a decade after a similar attempt to launch a JSF-style rotorcraft initiative failed, and it responds to increasingly desperate industry calls for a new program. But it is far from clear whether the Army will have the funding or willpower to follow the JMR technology demonstration with the new-aircraft development and production program manufacturers say they need.

Industry has welcomed news of the JMR demo program, although the level of funding has not been specified and the role of the recently formed Vertical Lift Consortium is not clear. The consortium was formed at the Defense Department’s urging to stimulate innovation in the rotorcraft industry by bringing together large and small companies and academia.

“We’re funded to build two clean-sheet aircraft that may or may not be the same configuration,” says Ned Chase, chief of the platform technology division, Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (Amrdec). Configuration options include advanced and compound helicopters and tiltrotors.

The Army is hoping the other services, NASA and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will bring funding to the program. “We plan to build two demonstrators, but we’d like to have enough money to build three,” says Jim Snider, director of aviation development for Amrdec. The Army officials were addressing the International Powered Lift Conference here on Oct. 5.

JMR is intended to demonstrate technology for a family of rotorcraft that would ultimately replace all of the Army’s helicopters—scout, attack, utility and cargo—as well as similar platforms operated by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The focus is on replacing the “medium” fleets of AH-64 Apaches and UH-60 Black Hawks, but the demonstrator configurations must be scalable downward to replace OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scouts and potentially upward to replace heavy-lift CH-47 Chinooks.

The JMR tech demo is similar to the Joint Advanced Rotorcraft Technology (JART) program proposed in 1998 and modeled on the JAST effort. JART was ultimately vetoed by the services as unaffordable. This time, say industry officials at the conference, the Army has recognized it has no choice, because its helicopter fleet is aging.

Although the services are buying new-production helicopters, their designs date from the 1960s and ’70s and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted shortcomings in performance, reliability and survivability. Attributes for JMR include increased payload, range and speed, with greater durability, survivability and affordability.

Notional performance targets include a speed of at least 170 kt. and an unrefueled radius of 474 km. (294 mi.) in 6,000-ft./95F hot-and-high conditions, with 30 min. on station in the utility/cargo missions and 120 min. in attack/reconnaissance roles.

In initial configuration studies these targets resulted in a large aircraft, Snider says, so the Army is looking at how manned/unmanned teaming could be used to reduce the endurance and range requirements and produce an affordable aircraft.

The Army has completed an initial phase of studies and begun a second phase of configuration analyses. Amrdec was planning to issue a solicitation for industry trade studies early in Fiscal 2011, but Chase says this has been delayed while negotiations with other services on a joint program are underway. Study contracts are now expected to be awarded by mid-2011.

The plan calls for configuration studies in 2011-13, followed by a flight demonstrator phase leading to a decision around 2020 on whether to launch a five-year development program for the first class of rotorcraft using JMR technology. This aircraft is planned to enter service around 2026, for a time span similar to the F-22’s and F-35’s and shorter than that of the V-22 Osprey and canceled RAH-66 Comanche.

Which helicopter fleet is replaced first will depend on what the Army decides to do about its armed aerial scout requirement following cancellation of the ARH-70, Snider says. The service could buy an interim aircraft or upgrade the OH-58Ds to keep them in service until they can be replaced by a new JMR-technology aircraft, he says.

The flight demonstration is to have two steps. In the first phase, aircraft will be built and flown to demonstrate the key attributes of the JMR airframe. First flights are expected in mid-Fiscal 2017. In the second phase, these aircraft will be fitted with mission systems and used to demonstrate a common avionics architecture developed separately.

The open, plug-and-play systems architecture, work on which has already begun, will include an advanced cockpit, integrated aircraft survivability equipment and manned/unmanned teaming. The common architecture is intended to reduce sustainment costs by being hardware-independent and scalable across different platform sizes.

Although Amrdec says it has funds for two demonstrators, industry is concerned there will only be enough money for one if the Army stays in a “business-as-usual” mode, say executives here. Chase says costs will be driven by two factors: the technologies selected for flight-testing and the size of the demonstrator, which has to be of sufficient scale to be relevant to the utility mission, as the Black Hawk makes up the bulk of the Army’s helicopters. “Right now it’s a fairly low-cost program,” says Snider.

The Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) leadership met late last week to decide how to respond to the pending solicitation for JMR configuration studies amid signs the Army could be backing off from working with the organization. The consortium was formed to speed the development and fielding of rotorcraft technologies by waiving normal procurement rules and encouraging established primes to work with innovative suppliers.

“The consortium was set up as a way for the services to communicate with industry,” says Chase. “I am sure certain tasks are best left to traditional contracting and others by arrangement with the VLC. We’ll take it case by case.”

Phil Dunford, Boeing’s chief operating officer for rotorcraft systems, says the JMR tech demo is an opportunity for the U.S. rotorcraft industry to work together. “If we keep doing things the way we used to, we’ll get what we used to get. It’s time to step up and put our heads together on what we collaborate on and compete on in Phase 2.”

Snider, meanwhile, highlights the challenge ahead in transitioning JMR from technology demonstration to development and production. “The only way to get to JMR is to demonstrate a return on investment. We have to show that extending the current fleet out for 30 years is unsustainable.” To that end, the Army is working to determine flight-hour costs for each of its aircraft. “We’ll throw those into the mix for JMR,” he says.

With Robert Wall in London.

Photo: Sikorsky

12-10-10, 04:17 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Compound Interest on the Rise

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/11/2010 12:38 PM CDT

With the Army planning to fly two rotorcraft technology demonstrators around 2017 under the Joint Multi Role (JMR) program, attention at last week's International Powered Lift Conference (IPLC) in Philadelphia focused on compound helicopters.

Adding a propulsor and wing to offload thrust and lift from the rotor enables a helicopter to carry more and fly higher, further and faster - but with hover, weight and complexity penalties that have so far kept success out of reach of the compound.

That lack of success is blamed on the failure of Lockheed's AH-56 Cheyenne although, as Army/NASA Aeroflightdynamics Directorate chief scientist Robert Ormiston told IPLC, the high-speed attack helicopter's development problems were "largely unrelated to any real compound rotorcraft challenges".

So we've been round this loop before, but as experience with its existing helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq pushes the Army to demand more payload, range and speed in hot-and-high conditions, compounding is again looking viable.

Sikorsky doesn't call its X2 a compound, because it doesn't have a wing, but everyone at IPLC considered it a compound because the rigid coaxial rotors achieve the same effect as a wing, unloading the retreating blades and allowing higher forward speed.

That the X2 Technology demonstrator recently achieved its 250kt target speed with power to spare and potential to go faster shows the configuration's capacity to change the game - all while making it look deceptively easy, as this video shows:

And don't be misled by the obvious vibration during the high-speed run. All rotorcraft vibrate and the X2 is going fast, for a helicopter. Sikorsky says the vibration at 250kt was equivalent to a Black Hawk at 150kt, thanks to active vibration control.

One interesting aspect of the X2 design, Sikorsky's Jim Kagdis told IPLC, is the tactical maneuvers possible using propulsor. The tail-mounted propeller can go from positive to negative pitch and act like a parachute, he says, providing a "unique" ability to stop the aircraft.

Whereas a helicopter has to pitch nose-down to speed up, and nose-up to slow down, the X2 can accelerate and decelerate on the prop with the fuselage level, improving sensor and weapon visibility. It can also "hang on prop", nose down, to get a better angle on the target, he says.

While it looks likely a compound helicopter will be selected as at least one of the planned JMR technology demonstrators, whether it can win over a conventional helicopter this time around will depend on how serious the US Army is about increasing the performance of its rotorcraft fleet.

14-10-10, 04:10 PM
Sikorsky Innovations Completes Testing of Hub Mounted Vibration System

(Source: Sikorsky Innovations; issued October 13, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- 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, North Carolina.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


16-10-10, 04:24 AM
Second AW159 Lynx Wildcat makes its first flight

October 15, 2010

AgustaWestland has announced that the second AW159 multi-role military helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility yesterday (14 October 2010).

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 programme. The third aircraft, TI3, is scheduled to join the flight test programme 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 utilising 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 programme 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 programme including Selex Galileo, a Finmeccanica company; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC – a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation.

Source: AgustaWestland

21-10-10, 03:32 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Sikorsky Raises Armed Scout Stakes

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/20/2010 9:48 AM CDT

Sikorsky is to build two prototypes of what it is calling the X2 Raider, to further its bid to develop a high-speed, coaxial-rotor light tactical helicopter to replace the U.S. Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scout.

Mockup: Sikorsky

The new helicopter, designated the Sikorsky S-97, is planned to fly in 2014. Like the company's X2 Technology demonstrator, which has exceeded 250kt in flight tests, the Raider will be equipped with rigid coaxial rotors, pusher propulsor, integrated powerplant and fly-by-wire.

More details after a Sikorsky press conference at 11.00 today (Oct. 20).

21-10-10, 03:56 AM
A lot more on this............


SOURCE:Flight International

Sikorsky unveils S-97 for high-speed scout and attack helo

By Stephen Trimble

Building upon the record-breaking X2 demonstrator, Sikorsky has launched the S-97 Raider programme to fly and test a high-speed scout and attack helicopter.

The coaxial-rotor, compound helicopter, scheduled to complete first flight within 50 months, will carry weapons and troops like the Russian Mil Mi-24 Hind, but fly faster than 200kt (370km) in cruise, and 220kts in dash mode, Sikorsky says.

By officially unveiling the S-97 programme on 20 October, Sikorsky intends to challenge the US Army's requirements staff as they consider options for replacing the Bell Helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

"If we don't do this now, that requirement is going to show up for a standard helicopter that does things 8-10% better," says Sikorsky president Jeff Pino, unveiling a mock-up of the 4,965kg (10,495lb) maximum gross weight S-97.


The Army is evaluating options for the armed aerial scout (AAS) contract, with a decision on acquisition strategy timed for the second quarter of 2011.

The potential order for hundreds of scout helicopters has sparked a wide range of responses from industry. Two weeks ago, Bell Helicopter unveiled a new demonstrator project to re-engine a Kiowa with a Honeywell HTS900-2 engine. EADS North America has teamed with Lockheed Martin to convert an EC145 single-rotor helicopter into the AS645 armed scout.

Despite Sikorsky's high-speed proposal, the Army has not specifically asked for a faster helicopter than the Kiowa Warrior. But service officials last December asked industry to propose helicopters that can hover out of ground effect at 6,000ft (1,800m) when the outside temperature is above 35ºC (95ºF) - a limitation for most single-rotor helicopters in places like Afghanistan.

The S-97 is designed to hover carrying six, fully equipped soldiers at that extreme altitude, Pino says. If the payload is only weapons, sensors and fuel, the S-97's hover ceiling rises to 10,000ft, he adds.

Sikorsky, however, is not counting on the AAS programme alone to justify the business case for launching a new aircraft. The S-97 also will be pitched to other potential US and foreign military customers over the next decade.

Pino cited the US specials operations community - specifically, infiltrating Navy SEALs on covert missions - as a possible buyer for the S-97, which operates quietly without a tail rotor.

"I won't say it is Airwolf-whisper quiet," Pino says, citing a 1980s American TV series featuring a supersonic Bell 222 helicopter. "But it's very, very, very, very quiet."

The aircraft also could be adopted by the US Marine Corps as a high-speed, armed escort for the BellBoeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

"AAS is not the only game in town," Pino says.

Sikorsky plans to complete a preliminary design review with its suppliers, who are contributing 25-30% of the S-97 development funding on a risk-sharing basis, in 2011.

Two S-97 prototypes will be built for the test programme. The aircraft will use the existing General Electric T700 engine for the prototypes. A more powerful, 2,300shp (1,720kw) engine, however, must reach fruition under the army's improved turbine engine programme (ITEP).

"ITEP has to come through," Pino says. "We're going to need those [extra] horsepowers."

Sikorsky has displayed a mock-up with three-bladed rotors, but the S-97 will use four blades on each rotor to counter vibration levels. The pusher propeller attached to the tail will measure 2.04m (6.7ft) in diameter.

The S-97 is the first all-new helicopter that Sikorsky has launched since the army cancelled the Sikorsky/Boeing RAH-66 Comanche in February 2004.

A year later, Sikorsky hatched the idea for the X2 demonstrator after internally deciding that high-speed would be the next capability desired by the military.

The X2 demonstrated 250kt speed in level flight in September, breaking the helicopter speed record with the advantage of a pusher propeller providing 680kg of augmented thrust.

Unlike the X2, the S-97 will incorporate a gearbox on the propeller to allow the pilot to disengage or engage the propulsor in flight. If the programme advances to the production stage, Sikorsky also plans to install a cockpit with the ability to fly with two pilots, one pilot or autonomously.

Sikorsky has reserved space in the S-97 to install a targeting sensor with a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera, but it will not be included in the demonstration programme.

21-10-10, 04:36 AM
Steven Trimble/DEWLINE Video of the Sikorsky presentation.............

22-10-10, 02:39 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Pedal to the Metal - Sikorsky Goes Full Speed on X2 Raider

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/21/2010 5:50 PM CDT

So Sikorsky is going to spend "a couple of hundred million dollars" of its own and suppliers' money to build two prototypes of its S-97 X2 Raider light tactical helicopter - a bold move Sikorsky president Jeff Pino says the company had to make to ensure the high-speed coaxial-rotor helicopter is considered for the US Army's Armed Aerial Scout requirement to replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

Video: Sikorsky

The two aircraft will be airframe prototypes only, designed to allow the customer to evaluate the tactical value of the X2's high speed, agility, rotor lift and hot-and-high performance relative to a conventional single-rotor, non-compound helicopter. Pino says airframe and avionics development cycles are out of sync by a factor of three, so Sikorsky won't start thinking about the Raider's mission-equipment package for a couple more years.

Jim Kagdis, the company's manager of advanced programs, gave an overview of the proposed X2 light tactical helicopter at the International Powered Lift Conference in Philadelphia earlier this month. The aircraft is 35.1ft long with 33ft-diameter rotors. Empty weight is around 6,700lb and maximum gross weight 10,500lb. At a mission weight of about 9,500lb, cruise speed is 200kt, turn rate 2.9g and endurance 3.5hr on internal fuel.

Compared to the OH-58D, there is a whopping amount of power on the X2 Raider - Pino says a pair of 2,600-2,800shp T700/CT7-class engines will be used, with the production version to use the 3,000shp-class power turboshafts to be developed under the Army's Advanced Turbine Engine Program. That's as much, if not more, power as the UH-60M Black Hawk has and it weighs 22,000lb.

Design of the prototypes has begun, and Pino says there will be some changes from the X2 LTH mockup Sikorsky has been touring around. The rotors will each have four, not three blades, and there is likely to be less glass area after feedback from potential customers (which include Special Operations Command). High-speed flights of the X2 technology demonstrator (which has reached 250kt, with another 8-10kt to come, says Pino) have shown the need for more tail area. How weapons will be stowed has yet to be decided.

First flight will be within 50 months, with Sikorsky aiming for 48 months from the launch date, which was Wednesday (Oct. 20). It has to be quick, because EADS and Lockheed Martin will soon be flying company-funded demonstrators for their AAS-72X contender, which is based on the Army's UH-72A (aka EC145/645). And Boeing has been flying its AH-6S for a while. But they will look pretty wimpy next to the X2 Raider, so bring it on...

Concept: Sikorsky

24-10-10, 07:20 AM
Another Hybrid, Retractable Rotors on this occasion...............

Leading Edge

AW&ST On Technology

High-Speed VTOL Goes for a Spin

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/22/2010 9:01 AM CDT

Boeing has concluded that a disc-rotor vertical take-off and landing aircraft is "feasible, but not easy". The company is studying a high-speed combat search-and-rescue concept under DARPA's DiscRotor program, and will test a model of the telescoping-blade rotor in the windtunnel next year.

Video: DARPA/Boeing

Invented by Danish engineer Jacob Ellehammer early last century, the disc-rotor has a disc with blades attached that acts as a helicopter rotor in vertical flight and a wing in forward flight. Retracting the blades into the disc reduces drag in fixed-wing mode. NASA studied a Mach 0.85 disc-rotor in the late 1960s and took another look at the concept in the early 1990s.

The disc-rotor promises to combine the high cruise speed and altitude of a fixed-wing aircraft with the low-speed and hover capability of a rotary-wing aircraft, with low hover downwash and reduced radar signature when the blades are retracted. The low lift-to-drag ratio of the disc as a wing is an issue, so Boeing has added a swept wing to provide efficient lift in forward flight.

Boeing's conceptual CSAR DiscRotor has a dash speed of 360kt and radius of 400nm with a payload exceeding 2,400lb,, and at a mid-mission gross weight of around 31,000lb can maneuver at up to 4g, and hover in ground effect at 12,000ft density altitude - performance figures that are competitive with a tilt-rotor. Blades retracted and wings folded, DiscRotor takes up less deck space than a MV-22 or CH-53E

All graphics: Boeing/DARPA

Developing a mechanism that will reliability and repeatably retract and extend the blades under flight loads (including centripetal forces) is the central technical challenge of the DiscRotor program, Boeing technical fellow Michael McVeigh told the International Powered Lift Conference in Philadelphia earlier this month.

To address the challenge, Boeing is building a 20%-scale rotor model for windtunnel testing next summer at speeds up to 150kt. This will have four blades, each with three telescoping sections, and a rigid hub with blade retraction and pitch-change mechanisms, and an eight-segment disc fairing.

The DiscRotor has an integrated propulsion system using two turboshaft engines fitted with fans so they can also generate forward thrust. Shaft power goes to the main gearbox to power the rotor and a pair of wing-mounted, cross-shafted ducted propellers that provide the majority of the thrust in fixed-wing mode.

Engine core and bypass exhaust goes aft to a thrust-vectoring nozzle in the tail that provides anti-torque control in helicopter mode, and during conversion between modes when the disc is being braked or accelerated, and also provides auxiliary thrust in forward flight. The disc is stopped in fixed-wing mode to avoid gyroscopic effects.

In helicopter-mode flight, the DiscRotor has conventional rotor collective and cyclic pitch controls. Hover anti-torque and yaw maneuvering is provided 70% by the tail thruster, and 30% by differential thrust on the ducted props. Rotor controls are phased out at 120kt and yaw control provided by the thruster and winglets, and pitch and roll control by wing flaperons.

Mid-way through Phase 1b of DARPA's program, McVeigh says "DiscRotor looks feasible, but not easy. It offers a large increase in cruise speed, but with several large technical challenges." The rotor model tests next year should help decide whether the concept is worth pursuing.

26-10-10, 02:59 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURE: Enhanced Merlin takes to the air

By Alan Dron

The first upgraded AgustaWestland Merlin Mk2 helicopter has made its initial flight two months ahead of schedule, say the airframer and Lockheed Martin UK - Integrated Systems.

The 35min flight from AgustaWestland's Yeovil plant in southwest England went as planned, say the companies. Initial flight tests will focus on testing the new avionics, aircraft management systems, cockpit displays, communications and navigational systems.

Under the 2006 £750 million ($1.13 billion) Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP) the two companies are upgrading 30 Merlin Mk1s for the UK Royal Navy. The MCSP is designed to improve mission capabilities through the inclusion of an open system architecture, enhancements to the mission system processing capability, plus improvements to the helicopter's radar and sonar as well as new large-area touch-screen flat panel displays.

Four trials aircraft will be used to put the new systems through their paces. The bulk of test flying will take place at Yeovil, with the aircraft due to be transferred to Qinetiq at Boscombe Down in late 2011 for further mission system evaluation and release to service trials.

Full-rate conversion will start at Yeovil in early 2012 with the Mk2 entering service in 2013 and achieving full operational capability the following year.

26-10-10, 04:12 AM
First S-70iTM BLACK HAWK Helicopter Completes Test Flight Program

October 25, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida - The first S-70iTM BLACK HAWK helicopter has successfully completed production flight testing and will begin development and flight testing of options that will be made available to international customers. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
The aircraft has flown more than 50 hours in its production flight test program. It will undergo extensive flight testing in the coming months as options are integrated into the aircraft.

“The next phase of the program will expand the capability of the aircraft, transitioning it from a baseline configuration to a multi-faceted platform,” said Debra A. Zampano, S-70i Senior Program Manager, International Military Programs. “The aircraft has performed to all program requirements and has made a smooth transition from its production build in Poland through Sikorsky’s rigorous flight test program in Florida. The next phase of development will produce a BLACK HAWK helicopter that the global marketplace has never seen before.”

Peter Ladyko, Chief of Test for the S-70i helicopter program said, “The aircraft has undergone a detailed ground and flight test program involving a number of systems, including dual exportable radios, exportable transponder, emergency locator transmitter, embedded dual GPS/INS navigation, and electromagnetic compatibility testing. We look forward to expanding the platform to incorporate additional options in the next phase.”

The options that will be developed for the S-70i will enable customers to perform missions such as humanitarian relief, search and rescue, medical evacuation, command and control, and armed patrol. Deliveries to the launch customer of the S-70i helicopter program are slated to begin by mid-2011.

The S-70i helicopter utilizes a global supply chain and is the first BLACK HAWK helicopter ever to be assembled in Europe. The aircraft are being manufactured at PZL Mielec, Sikorsky Aircraft’s company 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.

27-10-10, 03:47 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

US Army announces new Fox model for Kiowa Warrior

By Stephen Trimble

The US Army has assigned the "Fox" designation to OH-58D Kiowa Warriors receiving a series of future cockpit and sensor upgrades, but stopped short of committing to a proposed engine improvement.

The OH-58F, or "Fox", fleet is expected to be fielded in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Although once programmed for retirement, the army has invested heavily in cockpit and sensor upgrades for the OH-58D with funds loosened from the cancellation in 2007 of the Bell ARH-70 Arapaho armed scout helicopter.

Even with the Fox-model upgrades, the Vietnam-era design of the Kiowa fleet will still lack the ability to meet a key requirement identified by the army for operations in mountainous Afghanistan.

The improved Kiowa requires a major engine upgrade to achieve hover out of ground effect at 6,000ft on a 35ºC (95ºF) day.

Rolls-Royce is proposing to boost the power of the current Model 250-CR30 engine by 12% to achieve the "high-hot" requirement.

Bell Helicopter, meanwhile, is internally investing in a technology demonstrator that re-engines the Kiowa Warrior with the Honeywell HTS900-2, the engine originally selected to power the Arapaho. Although adding about 100lb to the Kiowa's takeoff weight, the HTS900-2 delivers 50% more power.

The army, however, has approved funding to integrate a digitally-based glass cockpit. The army also is proposing to replace the mast mounted sensor with a nose mounted targeting and surveillance system.

The upgrades are intended to provide a bridge that keeps the Kiowa Warrior viable until the army can decide how to replace it.

03-11-10, 03:39 PM
Boeing Tests New Rotor Blade For CH-47F

Nov 3, 2010

By Graham Warwick

Boeing has completed wind tunnel tests of a new rotor blade for the CH-47F Chinook that is designed to generate 2,000 lb. more lift without degrading the heavy-lift-helicopter’s forward-flight performance.

Results of scale-model tests of the latest blade configuration are “promising,” says Pat Donnelly, CH-47F/G program manager. “We are seeing the lift we are looking for with little or no degradation in forward flight.”

Increased rotor lift usually comes at the expense of higher drag in forward flight. New airfoil sections and tip shape improve the performance of the new blade, Donnelly says.

The new swept dihedral-anhedral blade tip is similar to that developed for the canceled Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche scout/attack helicopter, Donnelly says.

Where the current design uses two airfoil sections, for the main blade and tip, the new blade has three, two of them first used on the Comanche and experimental Boeing 360, he says.

Having completed wind tunnel testing of the final configuration, Boeing will now produce several full-sized blades for dynamic and fatigue testing, Donnelly says. Flight tests are scheduled for 2014 and the new blade is planned to be retrofitted to in-service CH-47Fs and MH-47Gs and become standard on new-production Chinooks.

Boeing also has completed testing of an upgraded digital advanced flight control system (Dafcs) for U.S. Army special operations MH-47Gs. The Dafcs was developed for the CH-47F and the upgrade adds such features as control laws for inflight refueling.

The “fat tank” MH-47G has slightly different inertia characteristics to the “skinny tank” CH-47F, Donnelly says, but some of the new Dafcs features will be available for international Chinook customers.

Donnelly says Boeing and the Army’s program office are looking at features, including an embedded-roller cargo-handling system, that could be incorporated into the CH-47F under a second multi-year procurement.

The configuration will be finalized in June 2011 for deliveries beginning in 2014, although the multi-year – planned to cover five annual production lots – is far from certain because of funding constraints, he says.

Photo: RAF

03-11-10, 11:30 PM
Re the Boeing stop-rotor proposal, anyone can make pretty CGI, but the technology for that is still on the drawing board and will b a long time making it off the test bench.

Look at the Osprey for an example of transitioning from CGI to operational reality.


06-11-10, 03:12 PM
Leading Edge

AW&ST On Technology

Boeing's ULOR - Unload Lift Offset What?

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/30/2010 5:42 PM CDT

When I studied rotary-wing aerodynamics at university* I came away convinced the only reason helicopters work is sleight of hand - things happen so fast the air can't catch them out, so it lets them fly. Well I had to revisit my old notes to understand Boeing's Unload Lift Offset Rotor (ULOR) concept, an apparently random collection of terms that actually means something in rotor-ese.

Boeing ULOR concept. (via Yatosay on secretprojects.co.uk)

First, some basics. In forward flight, a helicopter rotor has an advancing side where forward speed adds to rotor speed and a retreating side where it subtracts from rotor speed. "Lift offset" means operating with more lift on the advancing side than on the retreating side of the disc, allowing the rotor to be more efficient at higher forward speeds.

But with a conventional articulated hub, the need to balance the rotor means that the lift the advancing side is allowed to generate is limited by the lift the retreating side is able to produce. Even hingeless rotors are not designed to carry significant roll moments, so the retreating side still limits the advancing side.

A very stiff hingless rotor that could carry a significant roll moment would allow greater lift offset, but requires a way of balancing the roll moment. In the advancing blade concept (ABC) helicopter - exemplified by Sikorsky's X2 - balance is provided by having two coaxial, counter-rotating rotors. Another way could be to add a wing to balance the roll moment from a single lift-offset rotor.

But rigid rotors generate more vibration and putting wings on helicopters incurs a hover performance penalty because of the rotor downwash on the wing. That's where Boeing's ULOR comes in, because it puts the wing above the rotor and attaches it directly to the rotor head, so the complete assembly can gimbal to minimize vibration. The non-rotating wing then generates an equal and opposite rolling moment to balance the rotor lift offset. Makes sense, I think, but looks weird.

Adding the wing to balance increased lift from the advancing side of the rotor allows the retreating side to be unloaded. This delays or eliminates retreating-blade tip stall, which is a fundamental limiter of helicopter forward speed. Mounting the wing on a gimbaled hub eliminates vibration and, in a tandem-rotor helicopter, allows yaw control by differential tilting of the rotor discs.

"ULOR enables lift offset with a gimbaled hub, which eliminates vibratory moments and preserves yaw control for tandem-rotor helicopters," Boeing engineer Tom Zeintek told last month's International Powered Lift Conference in Philadelphia. How's it done? Well the wing is attached via a universal joint to a standpipe that runs up through the hub. Tapered roller bearings transfer the balancing roll moment from the stationary wing to the rotating hub.

Boeing has been studying ULOR with funding from the US Army's Aviation Applied Technology Division, and is planning windtunnel tests of an isolated rotor/wing system. "We've not found any showstoppers so far, and we have found additional ways to optimise the concept," says Zeintek. "We've been able to unload the rotor by 50% and it stays stable." One of the recent changes has been to remove the wing sweep seen on earlier ULOR designs.

Earlier ULOR. (Photo: Mike Hirschberg)

*Under Prof Ian Cheeseman, Southampton University, 1973-76.

20-11-10, 07:16 AM
Heli-Power 2010: UK eyes export market for Wildcat

November 19, 2010

The AW159 Lynx Wildcat is being actively promoted on the export market by the UK government, despite the aircraft still being several years away from entering service.

The agency charged with helping the UK defence industry sell its products overseas, the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) within UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), is engaging with potential customers early about possible collaboration on the Wildcat programme.

‘It’s the whole model now for export. It’s now part of the MoD’s [Ministry of Defence’s] procurement process – a project won’t pass through unless it is shown that there is clear exportability,’ Cdr Mark Sheehan (Royal Navy), Naval Air Advisor to UKTI DSO, told Rotorhub.com during the Heli-Power 2010 conference in London on 18 November.

Sheehan said the main targets for the aircraft were existing operators of earlier Lynx variants, identifying six in Europe and seven across the rest of the world.

In addition, the DSO has been in discussion with the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) about the capabilities of the Wildcat naval variant and Sheehan is meeting with RNZN representatives in early 2011. New Zealand is considering whether to proceed with an upgrade of its SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters when they are due for one in 2015 or replace the aircraft outright.

Sheehan said with a maximum take-off weight of 6 tonnes, the Wildcat filled a niche role and would appeal to nations looking to procure a utility naval helicopter to operate from frigates or destroyers.

Any export aircraft could mirror the Royal Navy’s equipment package and be fitted with the Selex Galileo Seaspray 7000E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, L3 Wescam MX-15D EO/IR imaging system MBDA Sea Skua missiles and Thales LMM missiles. The aircraft could also be fitted with the Thales FLASH (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters) dipping sonar if required.

Sheehan was also bullish about the Wildcat having seemingly emerged unscathed from the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), suggesting the requirement may even increase from the current order of 62 once the wider effects of the SDSR are digested by the MoD.

By Tony Skinner, London

22-11-10, 09:59 AM
ITT delivers first composite assembly for new US Marine Corps helicopter

November 22, 2010

ITT Corporation has delivered its first major structural subassemblies for the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

This delivery culminates nearly three years of advanced design, development, testing and manufacturing to provide sponsons for the CH-53K helicopter. These assemblies represent a significant technology advancement by applying composite materials - versus traditional metals - to military aircraft that operate in harsh environments.

Sponsons attach to each side of a helicopter fuselage and house important components, such as landing gear, fuel, and other mechanical and electrical assemblies without compromising interior passenger or cargo space. Each sponson is 25 feet long by 4 feet wide and 5 feet high. This delivery supports the first prototype aircraft, with future potential to support 200 aircraft during the life of the program.

The CH-53K helicopter program is using proven and mature technologies that will significantly expand the fleet's capability in comparison to its predecessor, the CH-53E helicopter, by tripling the aircraft's lift in high and hot environments while reducing support and maintenance costs.

In addition, the composite sponsons are designed to be significantly more resilient to the environmental conditions, ballistics and in-flight stress, while allowing for increased cabin width without a change in vehicle footprint.

To meet the demanding weight, durability and affordability objectives of the CH-53K helicopter program, ITT is employing the latest composite design and manufacturing technologies for these important flight structures, including electronic model control, laser-ply projection, five-axis computer numerically controlled machining, automated trimming and drilling, as well as laser and ultrasonic inspection of all subassemblies.

"We've brought the best of our composite technology and experience to produce a stronger, more durable and operationally flexible aircraft to help the Marines perform their critical missions," said Jim Barber, vice president for ITT's Integrated Structures business area. "ITT is committed to growing our composites business so we can serve our customers' needs."

Production will be accomplished at ITT's Electronic Systems facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Source: ITT

22-11-10, 02:44 PM
Final AW159 Lynx Wildcat Test Aircraft Makes Its Maiden Flight

(Source: Agusta Westland; issued Nov. 22, 2010)

AgustaWestland has flown the third and final AW159 Lynx Wildcat test aircraft that will take part in a 600-hour flight test programme. (AW photo)

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the third and final AW159 test aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight on November 19th at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK. During its maiden flight a range of general handling checks were completed and it performed as expected.

The aircraft, designated TI3, is the third of three test aircraft that will complete a 600 hour integrated flight test programme. This first flight comes just a few weeks after the second AW159, designated TI2, first flew in mid October. All the three aircraft flew together for the first time on the same day.

Graham Cole, Managing Director, AgustaWestland, said after the flight “I am delighted that the final test aircraft has performed its maiden flight completing on time a critical part of the AW159 development. This programme will deliver unprecedented levels of capability and cost/effectiveness to the services once the operational readiness is achieved.”

Aircraft TI1 continues to perform air vehicle and flight envelope testing while TI2 is undertaking 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 includes 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 third 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 programme 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 programme including Selex Galileo, a Finmeccanica company; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC – a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation.


30-11-10, 03:02 PM
Sikorsky Innovations and Adaptive Flight, Inc., Announce Investment to Advance Autonomous Flight Technology Development

(Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.; issued November 29, 2010)

STRATFORD, Conn. --- Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., today announced it has made an equity investment in Adaptive Flight, Inc., a Georgia-based manufacturer of avionics system solutions for small and medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The investment, in part, will be directed toward developing technologies that allow piloted and unpiloted aircraft to work together, an area in which the parties have been collaborating. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

This investment signals another step forward in Sikorsky's ongoing work in the area of autonomy and optionally piloted aircraft technology, meaning aircraft that can fly with or without pilots on board. The effort is currently focused on developing optionally piloted technology for the BLACK HAWK helicopter. Current plans include a demonstration flight of an unmanned resupply cargo mission.

"Adaptive Flight is a great match with the Sikorsky Innovations' charter to redefine the future of vertical flight. We are pleased with this investment and look forward to working more closely with them," said Chris Van Buiten, Director of Sikorsky Innovations. "Adaptive Flight is a leader in autonomous technology development for small-scale rotorcraft, and it brings a solid expertise in small unmanned systems as well as a broad synergy with our Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter program."

"This investment in Adaptive Flight continues Sikorsky Innovations' commitment to mature autonomy related technology to improve our current and future products," said Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering. "We look forward to exploring the manned – unmanned teaming potential of our products with the Adaptive Flight team."

"This is a big deal for us," said Henrik Christophersen, Chief Executive Officer for Adaptive Flight, Inc. "Sikorsky's recognition of our technology and capabilities, as well as the opportunity for growth and collaboration this investment enables, represents a significant step for Adaptive Flight. We look forward to working with Sikorsky and to apply our products and skills to develop new and exciting unmanned Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) solutions for a wide range of applications."

"Along with our other recent technology investments, Adaptive Flight helps us execute our strategy of demonstrating differentiating technologies. The Sikorsky strategy and business development team will continue to seek out and close on opportunities with small, innovative businesses," said Mark Cherry, Sikorsky Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Synergy.

Sikorsky Innovations is an agile, networked group of Sikorsky employees dedicated to demonstrating innovative technology solutions to the toughest problems in vertical flight. Sikorsky Innovations is pursuing a broad range of advanced technologies, including the X2 Technology demonstrator; aware and adaptive aircraft systems; and optionally piloted aircraft.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

Adaptive Flight, Inc. manufactures avionics system solutions for small and medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It offers the HORNET UAS helicopter systems to support close-range reconnaissance missions during tactical operations in cluttered urban terrain; FCS20, an integrated flight control system to enable advanced behavior in small UAVs; and the FCS20 image processing development system, which allows flight control and image processing applications to be developed, tested and integrated. The company also provides hardware, firmware, and engineering services to the UAV industry.


02-12-10, 02:21 PM
Second Mi-38 Prototype Begins Testing

(Source: Russian Helicopters JSC; issued December 2, 2010)

The second prototype of the Mil Mi-38 helicopter, seen here during its first flight, will soon move to Moscow for flight testing. Production is due to begin in 2013. Russian Helicopters photo)

KAZAN --- OP-2, the second prototype of the new Mi-38 helicopter built by Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant JSC and Kazan Helicopters JSC, the subsidiaries of the Russian Helicopters holding company, has achieved its first flight.

The test program that was started is proceeding well according to Kazan Helicopters specialists: the helicopter has already completed 26 ground runups and 7 hover and low speed flights over the runway.

The design of the machine undergoing flight tests was modified pursuant to the results of tests on the first Mi-38 prototype – the OP-1. The hydraulic and fuel systems have been upgraded and some changes have been made to the main rotor blades. The helicopter control system now has spring feel mechanisms of type design.

As a result the helicopter is in maximum compliance with the Russian airworthiness regulations AP-29, a counterpart of FAR-29. Its handling and stability have improved. It is equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127/TS engines and the modern Tranzas IBKV-38 avionics suite with a glass cockpit. The helicopter can also be equipped with Russian TV7-117V engines.

The Mi-38 OP-2 is scheduled to be handed over to Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant for the full flight test cycle.

Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant is planning to demonstrate the Mi-38 OP-2 helicopter in 2011. Mass production at Kazan Helicopters is scheduled for 2013. The third prototype of the Mi-38 is in assembly in Kazan.

The medium multi-role cargo and transport Mi-38 is designed for passenger transportation (including VIP flights), carrying loads in the cabin and on an external sling, search and rescue, offshore, and flying hospital operations. According to design specifications, the Mi-38 will have a high payload and top speed. The Mi-38 will have a spacious passenger cabin and highly efficient engines. The labour constant for service and maintenance may be reduced thanks to a built-in automated equipment and engine serviceability control system.

The Mi-38 is a new generation helicopter that can perform up to the highest safety and comfort standards for helicopters in its class.

You can download video of the Mi-38 here:

Kazan Helicopters, JSC manufactures the famous Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter family, operated in 80 countries worldwide and featuring a wide variety of modifications: cargo, passenger, medevac, rescue, troop-carrying, and others. Ground is laid for the production of the Mi-38. The company was certified to design helicopters in 1997: the light twin-engine Ansat is currently in production.

Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant designs helicopters, tests prototypes, sees them through to production and certification. Upgrades and modifies existing helicopter types. The Plant is currently working on prospective designs such as the high-speed helicopter; taking part in the Russian Helicopters program for renewing the mass production of the Mi-34; completing tests of the Mi-28NE and the Mi-38; modernising the Mi-2, Mi-8/17, Mi-24/25, and Mi-26. Mi helicopters are built at aviation plants in Arsenyev, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Ulan Ude.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom. It is the managing body of the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress named after N.I. Sazykin, Arsenyev Aviation Company, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Vpered Moscow Machine-Building Plant, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM , Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant, Helicopter Service Company, and service centres.


09-12-10, 02:19 PM
Video of the X3..........WEIRD looking bugger!

The X3 demonstrator is a manufacturing mash-up of the Dauphin 365 airframe, the EC155 main rotor, the EC175 main gearbox and twin propellers. EADS announced this morning that the aircraft has surpassed the 180kt barrier

13-12-10, 10:05 AM
Upgraded CH-53E makes first flight on Marine Corps birthday

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The Marine Corps’ 235th birthday, Nov. 10, marked the first flight here of the Marine Corps first CH-53E helicopter equipped with a new glass cockpit and avionics upgrade.

Now that the first flight has been accomplished, the upgraded CH-53E Super Sea Stallion will now begin flight test which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2011.

The H-53 program office, PMA-261, and the Air Combat Electronics program office, PMA-209, served as the Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) for the CH-53E cockpit and avionics upgrade and worked together to ensure the integration of the upgrades was successful.

“The CH-53E cockpit and avionics upgrade is very significant and provides tremendous capability improvements for our Sea Stallion aircrews. Our NAVAIR team has transformed an aging cockpit and numerous supporting systems into a modern flight deck that has a digital backbone for today’s demanding missions and growth capability for the future,” said Capt. Ralph Portnoy, program manager, PMA-209. “Some of the new capabilities include Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management, with Required Navigation Performance Area Navigation, Mode S transponder, and 8.33 kHz radio channel spacing.”

“We also added Mode 5, Integrated Blue Force Tracker, Integrated Moving Map, Integrated Degraded Visual Environment/Brown Out Hover Cueing, Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System, Joint Mission Planning and a few others upgrades,” added Portnoy. “In today’s environment, information is key and this cockpit design and avionics upgrade is critical to getting that information in front of the right people at the right time. I can’t say enough great things about this combined multi-office team from across NAVAIR working together to make this happen. It goes to show you what we can accomplish when we collaborate as a team and drive to do things better.”

The CH-53E upgrade is another of many aircraft government LSI upgrades championed by PMA-209 and partnering with our fellow platform program office customers.

Previous PMA-209 LSI teamed upgrades include PMA-290's P-3C, PMA-231's C-2A and E-2C Hawkeye 2000 have all successfully completed flight test and have aircraft modifications underway.

PMA-209 has also teamed on other platform integrations such as the U.S. Coast Guard's HC-130H, PMA-261's MH-53E and commencing next year are the Navy C-130T’s under PMA-207.

Photo 1: “The first Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter with a glass cockpit and avionics upgrade makes its first flight here on Nov. 10.” U.S. Navy photo released.

Photo 2: “The first newly upgraded glass cockpit on a Marine Corps CH-53E.” U.S. Navy photo released.

14-12-10, 01:36 PM
Government of Canada’s Acquisition of Chinook Helicopters for the Canadian Forces

(Source: National Defence and the Canadian Forces; issued December 13, 2010)

Canada First at Home and Abroad

As part of the Government of Canada’s Canada First Defence Strategy, the Department of National Defence is acquiring 15 Canadian F model Chinooks (CH-147F). This positions the Canadian Forces as a first class, modern, flexible force capable of defending Canada and Canadian interests well into the future.

The purchase of the CH-147F Chinooks gives the Canadian Forces a new ability to reach remote locations in a wider range of geographic areas and challenging environments inaccessible by land transport or fixed-wing aircraft. These helicopters are invaluable assets in responding to natural disasters and while deployed anywhere in the world.

The Canadian Forces’ commitment to defend Canada and contribute to global peace and security make this type of helicopter a very real need for the men and women of Canada’s military, perhaps now more than ever. Delivery of the new Canadian F-model Chinookis scheduled for 2013 and 2014.

The CH-147F helicopters are the long-term solution to the Canadian Forces’ medium- to heavy-lift helicopter requirements. Until 2008, when the Canadian Forces obtained used Chinook D-models specifically for the mission in Afghanistan, Canada had to rely on allied or coalition forces to provide this type of helicopter transport while deployed, or opt for ground transportation, placing them at greater risk of ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices.

Serving Canadians here at home

The new CH-147F helicopters will be used to assist civil authorities in responding to emergencies such as floods, forest fires and earthquakes, helping to keep Canadians safe and secure. Added robust capabilities, which are first and foremost designed to maximize the safety of passengers and crew, will mean that a fleet of 15 aircraft will meet the operational requirements of the Air Force to carry out their missions. These ad ditional capabilities, such as long-range fuel tanks that will more than double the endurance and autonomy of a basic Chinook F-model, will expand the Canadian Forces’ ability to operate in remote and isolated areas, and increase their capacity to respond to disasters both at home and abroad.

The Boeing CH-147F Chinook aircraft is part of the Government’s implementation of its Canada First Defence Strategy. It features a newly designed, modernized airframe, a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit, and BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System. The advanced avionics provide improved situational awareness for flight crews with an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of pre-flight and mission data. Improved survivability features include a directional infrared countermeasures system, a laser warning system and updated infrared and radar detection systems.

A fair, open and transparent process

In June 2006, the Government of Canada approved the plan to acquire the new medium-to heavy-lift helicopter fleet. The following month, an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) established Boeing’s Chinook as the only Western-certified aircraft in production able to deliver the capabilities required by the Canadian Forces.

The Government of Canada remains committed to capitalizing on its major purchases to generate the greatest amount of economic benefit to Canadian industry and the economy at large. Canada's Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy is in place to enable Government to leverage major investments in military equipment to encourage long-term industrial development and significant economic activity here in Canada.

According to an independent analysis done for Boeing, this acquisition contract is expected to generate benefits for local economies and will provide approximately 5 500 jobs and an opportunity for up to 15,000 indirect jobs for Canadians across the country.(ends)

The Role and Capabilities of the Chinook F Model

(Source: Canadian Department of National Defence; issued December 13, 2010)

As part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen the Canadian Forces, the Department of National Defence is acquiring 15 Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopters, Canadian F model Chinook (also known as CH-147F).


The Canada First Defence Strategy represents a commitment by the Government of Canada to provide the Canadian Forces (CF) with the right equipment, therefore enabling CF personnel to perform their mission of defending Canada and Canadian interests, today and well into the future. New Chinook helicopters are an important part of that commitment.

By summer 2012, personnel from the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces will begin test flights with Boeing on the first CH-147F helicopters. The first Chinook aircraft will be delivered by 2013 and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) will follow a year later in 2014.

The Chinooks will be delivered at a rate of approximately one aircraft per month, with all aircraft being delivered over a 12 month period.


Domestic roles for the Chinook helicopters will focus on the provision of logistical or mobility support to CF Land Forces and CANSOFCOM, other Government departments, law enforcement agencies, or other civil authorities. The Chinook helicopter will provide a vital capability to conduct secondary Search and Rescue when required and support major air disaster response across the continent, particularly in Canada’s North given increasing commercial air activity in that region. The Chinook will also be capable of responding to humanitarian emergencies such as fire, floods and earthquakes. The versatility, impressive capacity and long range of this helicopter make the Chinook ideal for operations in Canada’s vast territory and demanding environment.


Wherever the CF may be asked to deploy abroad, they are likely to deploy to a more chaotic and complex environment involving improvised explosive devices, mines, small arms fire, and other dangerous weapons.

Helicopter forces are vital to supporting adaptable military operations in these environments and must be prepared to assist ground-borne forces and ensure their own continued operations under increased threats.

The new Chinook helicopters will have a much enhanced self-protection capability over earlier Canadian Chinooks, including advanced anti-missile protection systems, radar and laser warning systems, ballistic protection, self-defence machine guns and advanced electro-optical and infra-red sensors to detect potential threats and assist aircrew in operating in reduced visibility conditions. The Chinook will provide the ground forces with the ability to reduce the reliance on ground routes where threats are high. As evidenced in Afghanistan, the capability of the Chinook to maximize the effectiveness of Canadian troops while reducing the threat to them is invaluable.

Chinook helicopters are in high demand across the entire spectrum of contemporary military operations, from humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping to high-tempo combat operations. These forces must train continuously and be prepared to deploy on short notice. Aircraft and aircrew must be available and prepared in advance to support the high levels of readiness and responsiveness required of the CF. These Chinook helicopters are needed now to prepare for and sustain operations in the future.


These new Chinooks will be dramatically improved compared to the old models operated by the CF in the 1970s and 1980s, with a full range of leading-edge systems which will allow them to operate effectively in a modern theatre of operations that has also changed dramatically since the Cold War era.

With the extended range fuel tanks, they will have more than twice the range of the old Chinooks.

To defeat anti-aircraft missiles, the new Chinooks will be equipped with a laser-based active missile counter-measure system, as well as a chaff and flare dispensing system.

A radar and laser warning system will alert the crew if they are being targeted, and a full armour kit will provide crew and passengers with ballistic protection from small arms fire.

The Chinook will be equipped with three defensive machine guns: two forward door guns and one on the aft ramp.

A state-of-the-art Electro-Optic/Infra-Red sensor will allow the helicopter to operate effectively in very low light or reduced visibility conditions.

In addition to robust self-defence equipment, additional tactical procedures are followed to further mitigate threats that may be encountered. For example, the Chinooks can be flown with armed escort aircraft, and can use deception techniques in a wide range of day or night operations, all of which make the Chinook an ideal helicopter in a broad spectrum of demanding theatres. (ends)


14-12-10, 03:07 PM
Ah the Hooks'

Originally bought for Afghanistan, everyone should have known past Canuck procurement experiences means there was no way they would ever see Central Asia. Instead we have 6 ex-US D models and a bunch of Mil 8's piloted by private contractors when we should have had 6 F models 2 years ago in th-theatre.

The CF has an incredible fascination with "Canadianizing" EVERYTHING. I understand OZ has the same tendencies. Adding all kinds of gimmicks to every project draws out the process by as much as 5-10 years. Furthermore, Air Force douchebaggery is at an all time high, for example procurement chiefs ignoring all competitors (specifically Russian but also EADS) in projects like the medium lift chopper and FWSAR (search and rescue) programs. For example, when the CN-235 arrived in YellowKnife to be tested by 440 Squadron they ignored the visiting industry team, pretended they didn't even exist - The AF wants the C-27J, ther bosses in gov't be damned. Same thing with the hip', despite the fact that MIL 8's are giving us good and CHEAP reliable service in the ghan', when the Russian team arrived in Ottawa to try to sell new models not a single CF officer showed up to their presentations.

Look planners, I understand Canada is a bitch of a environment for ops, but you seem to be more interested in shiny things rather than "get the choppers to the war before more of our boys get blown up DRIVING to the mission while our bloody allies fly".

17-12-10, 02:23 PM
Spirit AeroSystems Celebrates Milestone on Sikorsky CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program

(Source: Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.; issued December 16, 2010)

WICHITA, Kan. --- Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., the world's largest independent supplier of commercial airplane assemblies and components, today celebrated the rollout of the Sikorsky CH-53K helicopter fuselage being delivered to support assembly of the first developmental test vehicle.

The fuselage assembly, which includes composite cockpit and cabin sections designed and built by Spirit, was joined to a supplier-provided aft transition empennage section earlier in the month. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

"Rolling out this joined fuselage signifies a vital milestone on this program," said Kelley Gross, Spirit program director. "This event demonstrates Spirit's already established expertise as a composite assembly manufacturer as well as our far-reaching capabilities in the defense market."

"This rollout of the first CH-53K helicopter fuselage is a distinct milestone signaling the CH-53K helicopter is close to becoming a reality for the U.S. Marine Corps and our country. The successful assembly of this fuselage is the result of a successful partnership between Spirit, Sikorsky and our NAVAIR customer," Joseph Santiso, Program Manager, CH-53K Airframe Integrated Product Team.

The cabin section is comprised of five composite skins, a composite floor and roof beams, aluminum framework, and a titanium transmission structure. Its dimensions are approximately 30 ft. in length, 10 ft. wide and 8.5 ft. high.

The cockpit section is mostly made of a composite structure including the canopy framework, skins, bulkheads and floors. The cockpit assembly dimensions are approximately 8 ft. in length, 8.5 ft. high and 10 ft. wide.

"The cabin-cockpit roll-out marks a significant milestone in fulfillment of the U.S. Marine Corps' Heavy Lift requirement. The continuing development of the CH-53K is reliant on a broad base of suppliers. Spirit AeroSystems is a major partner within the supplier base," said Captain Rick Muldoon, CH-53K Program Manager.

In 2007, Sikorsky awarded a contract to Spirit AeroSystems to design, fabricate, procure and build seven units of the sections for the CH-53K helicopter in connection with Sikorsky's Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract with the Navy. The seven test units are comprised of one ground test vehicle, one static test article, four engineering development model flight test vehicles, and one fatigue test article.

In 2008, Sikorsky also awarded a contract to Spirit for joining the joining of the aft transition section to Spirit's combined cabin and cockpit section. This contract was also in connection with the SDD contract. With the join of this section, Spirit will deliver a complete CH-53K helicopter fuselage to Sikorsky's Florida Assembly & Flight Operations facility in West Palm Beach, FL, where CH-53K experimental aircraft assembly and test activities will take place.

Spirit's CH-53K SDD program schedule is expected to run through 2012 and includes design, development and test activities, in addition to fabrication and assembly. The low-rate initial production (LRIP) phase of the program is expected to begin with the delivery of the first LRIP aircraft in FY 2017.

The CH-53K helicopter is a dual-piloted, multi-engine helicopter that will provide the U.S. Marine Corps with improved heavy lift capability, reduced operating costs, and state-of-the-art interoperability. The CH-53K helicopter is designed to be a safe, survivable, and reliable weapon system once placed into service. The helicopter will be capable of operating day or night, in battlefield conditions and adverse worldwide climates, while fulfilling U.S. Marine Corps missions for movement of cargo and equipment, transportation of troops, and amphibious assault and operations ashore.

Based in Wichita, Kan., Spirit AeroSystems is the world's largest independent supplier of commercial airplane assemblies and components. In addition to its Kansas facility, Spirit has locations in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla.; Kinston, N.C.; Prestwick, Scotland; Samlesbury, England; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and is developing a new manufacturing facility in Saint-Nazaire, France. In the U.S., Spirit's core products include fuselages, pylons, nacelles and wing components. Spirit Europe produces wing components for a host of customers, including Airbus.


18-12-10, 05:13 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURES: Eurocopter completes four first flights in one day

By John Croft

Eurocopter successfully completed four first flights on 17 December, including the first sortie of the second prototype EC175 heavy twin civil helicopter being built in a joint venture with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The other three first flights involved military helicopters - a fire support and destruction (HAD) Tiger for France; an NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) also for France's armed forces and an NH90 TTH for the Spanish armed forces.

The second EC175, a 7t multi-role helicopter configured for the oil and gas industry, flew for 45 minutes on its maiden sortie, validating basic handling qualities and system functionality, says Eurocopter. The companies plan to certify the Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67E-powered 16-passenger twin in late 2012.

The Tiger HAD support and attack helicopter for France will next pair with a Spanish Tiger HAD for joint testing and development flights. Eurocopter says it has orders for 64 of the 6.6t HADs - 40 by France and 24 by Spain, six of which are retrofits of previously delivered versions of the Tiger.

Both NH90 TTH first flights lasted for one hour, with dynamic systems checks, handling qualities evaluations and initial avionics checks of the 11t twin.

Second Eurocopter EC175 takes flight

French armed forces Tiger HAD first flight

NH90 for Spanish Armed Forces

French NH90 first flight

26-12-10, 05:22 AM
12-24-2010 19:02

Private firms to take over 7 key arms development projects

By Na Jeong-ju

The military will transfer seven key projects aimed at developing arms and defense systems, including a new attack helicopter, to the private sector next year to focus on developing core defense technologies, the state-run arms procurement agency said Friday.

The plan is part of efforts to improve the quality of weapons and boost the country’s arms exports to $4 billion by 2020, from $250 million in 2008, to make it one of the world’s top seven exporters of arms and defense systems.

“We decided to transfer seven weapons development projects led by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) to private firms,” the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a press release.

Initially, the ADD, the state-run arms developer, planned to hand over half of its 22 projects to the private sector. After a review, it decided to privatize only seven of the projects, the agency said.

The new weapons to be developed by private firms include an attack helicopter, a reconnaissance vehicle for chemical, biological and radiological warfare and a next-generation artillery hunting radar.

The attack helicopter project calls for providing some 210 aircraft to replace aging AH-1S and 500MD helicopters for the Army.

Under the reconnaissance project, the government plans to provide about 300 such vehicles to the military by around 2015.

The artillery hunting radar project is aimed at replacing the existing AN/TPQ-36/37 radars that came under fire for not working properly when North Korea shelled the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong last month.

The privatization is in line with a proposal by the Presidential Council for Future and Vision that the military accelerate technology transfer between state-run and private arms developers, and encourage mergers and acquisitions in the private sector to nurture the defense industry into a new economic growth engine.

The council recommended in October that the government double the number of workers in the defense industry to 50,000 by 2020 and develop markets in Asia and Africa based on growing economic ties with the regions.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, the country’s defense industry output totaled $6.5 billion as of 2008 and employed 24,000 workers.

The blueprint came after Korea’s bid to sell T-50 trainer jets to Singapore and the United Arab Emirates failed. Korea has also been actively seeking overseas sales of ammunition, self-propelled guns and tanks.

DAPA said the government will overhaul research and development in the defense industry to enhance quality and raise price competitiveness.


19-01-11, 03:32 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

New rotorcraft designs sought by US Army

By Stephen Trimble

The US Army has taken the first tentative steps to design an all-new fleet of rotorcraft that could enter service after 2020.

The Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) on 14 January issued a call for new rotorcraft designs from industry. Selected bidders will receive a 30-month, $3-4 million contract for configuration trades and analysis.

The next step for the army is the launch of a new technology demonstrator programme after 2013, potentially yielding an all-new aircraft that would be available to enter a final, three- to five-year development phase in 2020.

Details of the follow-on demonstrator effort have not been not disclosed, but Sikorsky officials have told Flight International that the AATD project has a $300 million budget.

Sikorsky also confirms the demonstrator would be aimed at boosting the speed of army rotorcraft. The service has set a threshold requirement of 170kt (315km/h) for a new vertical take-off and landing aircraft, which would match the speed of the fastest conventional helicopters. But it has also set an objective requirement, raising the potential speed of the new aircraft to 400kt.

That speed range encompasses a new crop of high-speed rotorcraft designs, including tiltrotors by Bell Boeing, compound helicopters in development by Piasecki and Eurocopter, and the coaxial rotor X2 being tested by Sikorsky.

The AATD has previously revealed a grand vision to replace the army's existing fleet, which includes the Bell Helicopter OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, Boeing AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. The so-called joint multi-role concept envisages a family of light-, medium-, heavy- and "ultra"-sized rotorcraft to replace the existing fleet.

It remains unclear if the army has the will or the budget needed to support a fleet-wide replacement strategy. But the AATD's call for new design concepts perhaps offers a clue about its resolve. The document says that "incremental" upgrades to the current fleet "will still leave significant capability gaps".

19-01-11, 07:21 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

US Army revives interest in fly-by-wire for Black Hawks

By Stephen Trimble

A fly-by-wire upgrade for the Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk is back under serious consideration by the US Army.

Army acquisition officials "have a plan" to reinsert funding for fly-by-wire technology, which was removed from the UH-60M programme after 2008, says Maj Gen R Mark Brown, deputy for acquisition and systems management in the office of the assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Brown's remarks come as Sikorsky nears the end of a two-year, 400h flight demonstration programme for the fly-by-wire upgrade, and show a revival of interest in the technology. Fielding an aircraft without mechanical linkages should have arrived with the Sikorsky/Boeing RAH-66 Comanche, but the aircraft was cancelled in 2004.

© US Army

Fly-by-wire was also inserted into the UH-60M upgrade, but the army declined to move the technology into production two years ago.

"We thought it was more important to buy less-capable aircraft faster and relieve our force structure," says Brown.

Inserting fly-by-wire into the UH-60M will save about 220kg (484lb), says Col Neil Thurgood, programme manager for utility helicopters. The technology also enables the army's vision to convert at least some of its Black Hawks into optionally piloted vehicles by the end of the decade.

The key benefit of fly-by-wire, however, is improved handling, says Thurgood. Pilots would no longer have to worry about controlling the aircraft in the last 650ft (200m) of a flight, when their eyes should be scanning the area outside the cockpit, he says.

21-01-11, 12:31 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Sikorsky primes S-97 for possible AAS launch after 2014

By Stephen Trimble

Sikorsky officials remain committed to the company's high-speed S-97 Raider demonstrator despite a likely US Army move to at least postpone a decision to launch an armed aerial scout (AAS) programme.

Sikorsky has signed up more than 20 industrial teammates since launching the coaxial rotor, compound rotorcraft, which is capable of speeds above 200kt (370km/h), in October. The company has committed to build two prototypes for a flight demonstration starting in 2014.

However, army officials have emphasised that no funding for the AAS programme will be included in its 2012 budget.

Brig Gen William Crosby, programme executive officer for army aviation, says funding a new-start programme within the next two years is unlikely. That decision remains true, says Crosby, even if an ongoing analysis of alternatives recommends replacing the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior with a new airframe for the manned helicopter part of the AAS requirement.

Sikorsky officials have been wary of tying the S-97 too closely to the fate of the AAS programme. The company believes it remains viable even if the AAS programme does not materialise.

Nevertheless, Sikorsky officials now express confidence that the S-97 will be a top contender for the army's next scout helicopter. First flight of the S-97, in 2014, is timed to coincide with when Sikorsky believes the army will be ready to launch the AAS programme, says Doug Shidler, director of Sikorsky's light tactical helicopter programme.

The S-97 also could be offered to US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Brig Gen Kevin Mangum, incoming commander for army aviation special operations, says the Boeing MH-6M Little Bird may soon need a replacement, adding: "We have about maxed out the H-6 from a capabilities standpoint."

Sikorsky believes the AAS programme will play a key role in the MH-6 replacement. Unlike the army, SOCOM does not traditionally introduce all-new aircraft, preferring to buy helicopters already in service.

24-01-11, 03:14 PM
Boeing begins flight testing UK Chinook Mk4

January 24, 2011

Boeing and its Boeing Defence UK subsidiary today announced that the Boeing UK Rotorcraft Support team has begun flight testing the first Chinook Mk4 helicopter for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The first flight took place on Dec. 9 in Hampshire, England.

"Project JULIUS, as the Mk4 program is known, will modernize the current Royal Air Force Chinook fleet - essentially giving us new aircraft," said Chris White-Horne, Mk4 project team leader for the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.

Project JULIUS will modify 38 Mk2/2A Chinooks into the Mk4/4A configuration and eight Mk3 Chinooks into the Mk5 configuration. All the aircraft will be delivered to RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

A major part of the modification for both the Mk4/4A and Mk5 aircraft is the Thales TopDeck cockpit. Thales UK is under contract with Boeing to supply its Cockpit Display System/Mission Avionic System, which will provide improved situational awareness, increased safety and options for capability enhancement. The upgraded and integrated cockpit display includes four multifunction displays, two stand-by flight displays, updated communications interfaces, and two new air data computers.

"The first of the modified JULIUS Chinook helicopters is expected to be available to commanders before the end of 2011," said David Pitchforth, managing director, Boeing UK Rotorcraft Support. "The entire Mk2 fleet will be fitted with the JULIUS cockpit by early 2015, followed by Mk2A and Mk3 modifications by 2015 and 2016, respectively."

The modifications also include the addition of a third crew-member seat and an update of Airworthiness & Safety Certification and Qualification for the modernized Chinook. The aircraft are being modified at the Gosport Fleetlands facility operated by Vector Aerospace, Boeing's principal subcontractor for deep support of the RAF Chinook fleet. Vector Aerospace has established a dedicated production line at Fleetlands to support the JULIUS program, with specialist component manufacture provided from its Almondbank facility near Perth, Scotland.

"Vector Aerospace is delighted to be associated with this significant milestone. It is a testimony to the skill and dedication of our teams in Fleetlands and Almondbank, who have worked in a spirit of true partnership with our customer Boeing and the key equipment suppliers," said Tim Rice, managing director, Vector Aerospace UK.

Source: Boeing

24-01-11, 11:31 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Eurocopter's New Birds

Posted by Christina Mackenzie at 1/24/2011 3:18 PM CST

“In the 20s every helicopter more or less will be flown in an optional manned version,” said Lutz Bertling, CEO of Eurocopter, with particular reference to the U.S. market.

He was speaking at the Eurocopter New Year greetings to the press annual event this morning. In answer to a question as to whether this meant Eurocopter was developing such a beast, Bertling answered: “This means any new acquisition will be optional manned.” By which we understand that, yes, Eurocopter will be working on this issue.

But for the moment they are working on the X³ high-speed hybrid helicopter demonstrator which first flew in September 2010 and is now entering its phase 2 flight tests with the aim of reaching a cruise speed of at least 220 knots. Bertling said the idea was not to break speed records or to increase the range but to increase productivity. “This means we want to fly 50% faster at a maximum increase of 20 to 25% in acquisition and operating costs.”

The X3. Photo credit: Eurocopter

The company is also working on the X4, a successor to the EC155 Dauphin which is known as the Panther in its military version. So although the X4 is being developed as a civilian helicopter, it will doubtless eventually have a militarised version. Tantalisingly, Bertling said “the way of flying this helicopter will be completely different... the cockpit as we know it may no longer exist.” But no further information was to be had.

The EADS company also is continuing work on what it calls its Bluecopter technology seeking further improvements in noise, vibration and performance through the Blue Pulse and Blue Edge blade programs.

The technical demonstrator aircraft developed on an EC145-based platform by Eurocopter on its own funds to meet the Armed Aerial Scout requirement for the U.S. Army meets all the missions specified, Bertling said, and is now flying with the mission equipment package. Also in the United States, work is continuing on a potential partnership with Boeing to develop a new generation heavy-lift helicopter. “In the 2020s, Europe will run out of capabilities in this segment while the U.S. wants something better than the CH47-F,” Bertling said.

26-01-11, 01:08 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Heavylift Helo Makeovers

Posted by Graham Warwick at 1/25/2011 10:07 AM CST

The first Royal Air Force Chinook with new Thales TopDeck glass cockpit is in flight tests at RAF Odiham, with the first HC2s upgraded to the new HC4 standard scheduled to re-enter service by year-end.

Photo: Boeing

Project Julius is upgrading 38 Chinook HC2/2As to HC4/4A standard and eight Chinook HC3s to HC5s. (The HC3s having been "reverted" to HC2/2A standard after the avionics software could not be certified.) The Mk2s are to be retrofitted by early 2015, with the 2As and 3s to be upgraded by the end of 2016.

The new cockpit features four multifunction displays, two standby flight displays, updated comms interfaces and new air-data computers. Boeing Defence UK is prime, with Vector Aerospace doing the mods. Crucially, after what happened with the HC3s, Project Julius includes an update to the airworthiness certification.

On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, Navair is flight testing the first U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E to undergo a cockpit and avionics upgrade. The retrofit installs the Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit - similar to that in the CH-47F, UH-60M and in-development CH-53K.

Photo: Navair

The upgrade introduces Mode S transponder and other capabilities required for civil-airspace CNS/ATM compliance, plus Mode 5 IFF, integrated Blue Force Tracker, moving map, brownout hover cueing, and engine indicating and crew alerting system.

27-01-11, 02:28 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Netherlands Expands Chinook Fleet

Posted by Nicholas Fiorenza at 1/26/2011 10:25 AM CST

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is expanding its helilift capacity with the acquisition of six CH-47F (NL) Chinook transport helicopters. The first new Dutch Chinook made its maiden flight at the Boeing Helicopters testing area in Philadelphia yesterday, the Netherlands Ministry of Defense announced.

The ministry has ordered six CH-47Fs, which in addition to having tactical lift capabilities, are better equipped for special forces operations than the D version it supplements.

The CH-47F is easier to maintain than the CH-47D and has an improved cockpit with a digital automatic flight system, making it easier and safer to fly under difficult conditions and to land in dusty or sandy environments, according to the Netherlands Ministry of Defense. A forward-looking infrared radar gives it better situational awareness. The CH-47F has five fast rope positions, a self-defense system and is better armed than the CH-47D. There is also room for growth, for example by adding defense against rockets.

In RNLAF service, the CH-47F will have a grey color scheme, compared to the green CH-47D.

The Netherlands' Defense Materiel Organization plans to hand the first CH-47F to the RNLAF at the end of the year, followed by the remaining five within the following six months. This will increase the number of RNLAF Chinooks to 17.

Netherlands Ministry of Defense photos

31-01-11, 06:37 AM
Photo: HAIC Z-19 light scout/attack helicopter

January 31st, 2011

The Harbin Aircraft Industrial Corporation (HAIC) Z-19 light scout/attack helicopter is seen here for the first time. The aircraft is based on the Z-9/H425 with slender forward fuselage and a two-seat tandem cockpit.

(It's a derivative of their licence-built version of the DAUPHIN II.............)

01-02-11, 02:11 AM
Leading Edge

AW&ST On Technology

VIDEO: Carter's Hybrid VTOL Flying

Posted by Graham Warwick at 1/31/2011 2:38 PM CST

Carter Aerospace Technologies has completed Phase 1 flight testing of its proof-of-concept Personal Air Vehicle, which will combine an autogyro-style unpowered rotor for vertical take-off and landing capability with a propeller and wing for efficient cruise flight.

Carter has released video of the initial flights in autogyro mode, showing the "jump" take-off and "zero-roll" landing techniques achieved using the high-inertia rotor with its tip-weighted blades.

Videos: Carter

The company also has posted video of test pilot Larry Neal talking about the aircraft. He explains how a jump take-off is performed, and how this has been automated in the "second-generation" PAV to allow the aircraft to take off at the touch of a button.

Neal also provides some insight into the advantages claimed for Carter's slowed rotor/compound (SR/C) technology. About about 85mph, he says, the wing begins to take over carrying the lift and the autorotating rotor automatically begins to slow down. By 150mph the wing is providing all the lift. This reduces the drag of the rotor and allows the aircraft to fly faster, more efficiently.

The wing will be added for the next phase of flight tests. You can read more about the SR/C in a previous Leading Edge post.

01-02-11, 03:41 AM
WZ-10 defensive aids, sensors

February 1st, 2011

Some hardworking guy has come up with a listing of sensors and defensive aids on the WZ-10 attack helicopter.

Better detail at the link: -


03-02-11, 12:15 AM
Sikorsky delivers second UH-60 'A-A' to 'L' recapitalization aircraft

February 02, 2011

I've always wondered about doing the same to our BlackHawks............wishful thinking eh?

Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) today delivered the second UH-60 aircraft that has undergone "A-A" to "L" recapitalization for use by the US Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP). Distinguished as the fifth helicopter off the original BLACK HAWK helicopter production line, this fully upgraded UH-60L model will execute national security missions mandated by the CBP. Nicknamed "718" from the last three digits of its identification number, the rebirth of this more than 30-year-old aircraft marks the second US Army recapitalization upgrade performed at SAS's Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility. SAS is the aftermarket business of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp..

A major aviation facility, SAS MRO has become a pivotal location for aircraft overhaul, repair and upgrades for the United States Department of Defense, other US government agencies, and allied foreign militaries throughout the world. Based largely on the success of the H-60 recapitalization and upgrade program started more than eight years ago at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas, it has proven to be one of the most effective and productive fleet maintenance programs ever accomplished by the US Army.

"After 32 years of service to various US government entities as a model 'A,' aircraft 718 has rolled out of SAS MRO essentially a new helicopter. Now a UH-60L model, the aircraft is equipped for enhanced performance alongside all other US Department of Defense service aircraft," said David Adler, President of Sikorsky Aerospace Services. "We look forward to continuing our upgrade work and providing cost effective solutions to extend the life of the BLACK HAWK helicopter fleet available through the Army's Excess Defense Article (EDA) program."

LTC Heyward Wright, Product Manager UH-60A/L/M, participated in the rollout ceremony and stated: "We in the Utility Helicopters Project Office recognize the hard work of the Sikorsky team here at Chase Field. Your efforts on behalf of the Customs and Border Protection Agency will directly support our nation's security. You have provided America with the latest in vertical flight technology in a sustainable and versatile package. I thank this workforce for your dedication, for your persistence and for the delivery of this aircraft. The crews that fly this helicopter will never know your names - but your fingerprints are forever imprinted on the aircraft behind me. I want to thank those of you who made this possible for your herculean efforts, and I wish the crews who will man this aircraft God Speed."

Aircraft 718 has undergone major structural modifications to extend the service life of the airframe: upgrade conversions that include engines, dynamic components and flight controls; and several modification work orders advancing the aircraft to the latest US. Army "L" model configuration - including additional requirements specified by the CBP. These features enhance both mission capability and readiness, and bring significantly improved power, durability and reliability to the US Customs and Border Protection fleet.

Source: Sikorsky

09-02-11, 11:57 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

AERO INDIA: HAL reveals Light Utility Helicopter mock-up

By Siva Govindasamy

Hindustan Aeronautics has unveiled a mock-up of its indigenous light utility helicopter, which was given the go-ahead in February 2009 as a partial replacement for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army HAL Cheetah and Chetak fleets.

The first prototype will be built in 2012, with the first flight scheduled for 2013. This is a "100% indigenous development", says Prasad Sampath, general manager of HAL's rotary wing research and design centre.

"The defence ministry is giving us the funding and certain milestones have to be satisfied before we go ahead. Today, the design has been frozen and we are embarking on the detailed design phase," he adds.

An engine has not been selected, but the company is studying options from Turbomeca, Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell and HAL's indigenous Shakti powerplant. A decision will be made in the coming months, says Sampath.

The Indian state-owned aerospace company is scheduled to manufacture 187 of these three-tonne helicopters. New Delhi will buy another 197 helicopters through an international tender, and is assessing the AgustaWestland AW119, Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec and the Kamov Ka-226.

HAL says that the LUH will have a length of 11.5m, height of 3.4m, rotor diameter of 11.6m, and airframe width of 1.6m. It will have a maximum take-off weight of 3.12t and an empty weight of 1.91t.

The single turboshaft engine will have dual channel FADEC and backup fuel control. The helicopter will have a cruise speed of 235kmh, maximum speed of 260kmh, service ceiling of up to 6.5km, and a range of 350km.

There will be a glass cockpit with smart cockpit display system (SCDS), and skid landing gear. The fuselage will be able to accommodate two pilots and six passengers, and feature crashworthy seats.

It will be able to undertake emergency medical services, troop transport, VVIP, reconnaissance and surveillance missions, and be able to carry external cargo of up to 1t.

12-02-11, 12:42 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Boeing, US army near decision on CH-47 future

By Stephen Trimble

Looking beyond delivery of the last CH-47F/G Chinook model in 2019, Boeing and the US Army are nearing a decision about taking the next step with the venerable heavylift helicopter design.

In discussion are several options ranging from a radical redesign offering 50% more lifting power to slight improvements of the existing configuration and several alternatives in between, says Pat Donnelly, Boeing's CH-47F/G programme manager.

To support a possibly lengthy development phase, decisions about the tandem rotor's future are required soon despite more plans to continue delivering the current model of the Chinook for eight more years.

"We'll be making those decisions more than likely this year," Donnelly says.

The minimum change could involve optimising the rotor hub and transmission to support a 1t lift improvement provided by a common rotor blade currently in development for the F-model, he says.

Alternatively, the army could choose to maximise the lifting capability of the current airframe, raising the Chinook's lifting power by 30% to about 29,483kg (65,000lb), Donnelly says.

That option would require integrating a new engine, replacing the 4,868shp Honeywell powerplant with a 7,500shp-class turboshaft, he says. Boeing would seek to leverage existing engine cores, rather than develop an all-new propulsion system.

Boeing also has shown army officials a Chinook design that is not limited by current transportability requirements. If a Chinook does not have to fit inside a Boeing C-17, the airframe can be enlarged to lift more than 34,000kg, or about a 50% improvement.

Such a configuration may strain Boeing's ability to describe the design as a growth version of the Chinook. "Is a 75,000lb Chinook still a Chinook or is that a new concept?" Donnelly asked rhetorically.

The army's decision-comes as France and Germany consider buying a new heavylift helicopter to replace aging Sikorsky CH-53s. Boeing has teamed up with Eurocopter to offer a larger version of the CH-47 airframe to Germany that can lift about 33t.

"The French and Germans have expressed an interest in the next generation [Chinook] requirement," Donnelly says.

Meanwhile, the army has been considering options for a new generation of rotocraft, but the emerging joint multirole (JMR) programme is currently focused on developing a replacement for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache in 2025.

A heavylift version of the JMR vertical lift technology to replace the Chinook is not planned to be fielded until 2040, Donnelly says.

That strategy has created a potential gap for a growth version of the Chinook to sustain the army's requirement for a heavylift rotorcraft for the next 30 years.

Boeing also needs to start working on a growth design now to avoid a prolonged shutdown at the CH-47F/G production line in Philadelphia, he adds.

02-03-11, 12:20 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Tamam reveals helicopter sensor upgrade work for Latin American users

By Arie Egozi

The Tamam division of Israel Aerospace Industries is adding day and night observation capabilities to helicopters used during low-intensity conflicts and activities to prevent drug smuggling.

Tamam general manger Shaul Shaha says unnamed clients in Latin America have requested capabilities, and that the company has so far installed payloads on Bell 212s and Mil Mi-17s for two users.

"We had to cope with the effect of the helicopter's vibrations on the payload's output, but the results are very good," he says.

By adding new observation capabilities to the aircraft, small groups of soldiers are able to detect and identify hostile forces or drug smugglers and confront them immediately.

According to Shaha, the market for day/night optical payloads for helicopters to support such missions is growing fast. "More and more countries understand the needs, and we are involved in some programmes aimed to enable this capability," he says.

03-03-11, 01:30 PM
Avalon 2011: Sikorsky reveals details on 'remanufacture' strategy

March 03, 2011

Sikorsky has detailed plans to roll-out a remanufacturing programme outside the US, initially designed to sell cut-price variants of its Hawk series of helicopters worldwide.

Speaking at the Avalon International Airshow in Geelong, Australia, Chris Clapperton, director maritime and Asia strategies for Sikorsky Aerospace Services, described his aspiration for a 'global business' focused on remanufacturing utility variants of Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters.

According to Sikorsky market analysis, the global helicopter market is estimated to be worth around $180 billion between 2010 and 2019 with 42% of the 'international military market' understood to be open for such a project.

Currently, Sikorsky is remanufacturing S-61T and H-60 airframes in the US for the Department of State, Colombian Air Force and US Customs and Border Protection Agency. In order to launch this initiative outside the US, Sikorsky could be supplied with 50 S-70 aircraft from the Australian Defence Force as 'government furnished equipment'. Profits from the programme will be shared between Sikorsky and the Australian government.

Clapperton said Sikorsky was targeting countries requiring a 'military capability but with budget constraints' and described how the remanufactured helicopters would not require electronic safety measures or other 'fancy gadgets'.

Declining to name specific countries, Clapperton said Sikorsky would be targeting Asia-Pacific, Africa, South America and certain users in Europe for the sale of the remanufactured helicopters which it's claimed will be available for between $9 and 12 million – half the normal price of a S-70 platform, he added.

'This is a new market for Sikorsky and a growing market around the world. A number of countries are feeling the [economic] pinch in the global market,' Clapperton explained.

Sikorsky has already lined up Rockwell Collins Australia, Lovitt Technologies, Cablex, Production Parts, Ferra Engineering, Aero Plastics and Varley Group to join the production process. Remanufacturing will initially focus on utility aircraft with around 5,000 airframe hours left before their next life extension. Work will include new wiring and rooftops; avionics updates; provision of glass cockpits; general overhaul and paint jobs.

Describing future potential for the programme, Clapperton said options included the establishment of Sikorsky Helitech as a 'regional hub' for throughlife support of remanufactured aircraft and said he intended to include some of the 400 regionally-based Hawk family aircraft for remanufacturing.

Elsewhere, he said Sikorsky was targeting a 'portion of the US Excess Defense Articles to the remanufacturing production lines'.

Andrew White, Melbourne

03-03-11, 03:04 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Fleet pressure prompts Israel to rebuild scrapped CH-53

By Arie Egozi

With no immediate substitute for the Israeli air force's Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters in the frame, the service has decided to rebuild one aircraft which was cannibalised for spare parts and dumped in a scrapyard several years ago.

The need to reactivate aircraft 985 is one outcome following an Israeli CH-53 Yasur crash in Romania in July 2010.

Six Israeli crew members and one Romanian observer were killed when the aircraft came down during a joint exercise.

According to a report in the Israeli air force magazine, the service's 22nd maintenance unit will perform the rebuild, which will fit the aircraft to its modernised 2025 standard.

© Moti Shvimer

The upgrade, already being carried out on all Israel's operational CH-53s, will see the installation of 20 new systems, including an advanced electronic warfare suite, and a satellite communications fit to expand the type's operational capability.

The project will also introduce an altitude hold-and-hovering stabilisation system and a laser obstacle ranging and display capability.

Israel plans to continue flying its current fleet until it can acquire Sikorsky's new-generation CH-53K, under development for the US Marine Corps.

Only the CH-53K is designed for the type of missions Israel's Yasur helicopters are required to perform, the air force says.

07-03-11, 03:38 PM
Eurocopter Expands Its Product Line with the EC145 T2 Helicopter, Integrating More Powerful Engines, a Fenestron Tail Rotor, New Avionics and Mission Capabilities Upgrades

(Source: Eurocopter; issued March 7, 2011)

Unveiled at Heli Expo, the new T2 version updates the BK-117/EC145 design with Eurocopter’s trademark Fenestron tail rotor, improved gear boxes and a new avionics suite. (Eurocopter photo)

ORLANDO, Florida --- The newest member of Eurocopter’s helicopter family was formally launched today with the unveiling of its EC145 T2 – an evolved version of the popular twin-engine EC145 that incorporates new Arriel 2E engines, along with the company’s Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, an innovative new digital avionics suite and a 4-axis autopilot.

Today’s EC145 T2 debut was at the Heli-Expo 2011 exposition in Orlando, Florida, where Eurocopter also announced launch agreements for a total of 17 helicopters from four international customers, who plan to utilize these rotary-wing aircraft in emergency medical services (EMS), oil and gas operations and business aviation.

With deliveries to begin in 2013, the EC145 T2 will offer significantly improved performance, increased flight safety, enhanced human-machine interface, improved maintainability and lower operating costs for the light-medium twin-engine helicopter. It benefits from the heritage of Eurocopter’s EC145 and its BK117 predecessor, which together have logged more than 2.8 million flight hours in service around the world.

“Our EC145 T2 is the latest example of our company’s continued investment in innovation, which provides helicopters that are more efficient to own and operate, with higher performance and improved safety,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling.

The EC145 T2’s most visible change is the integration of Eurocopter’s proven Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, which replaces the standard two-blade tail rotor. Advantages of the Fenestron include significantly higher safety levels on the ground and in flight, along with enhanced anti-torque control efficiency, reduced power demand in forward flight, and lower sound and vibration levels.

This Fenestron application expands Eurocopter’s use of the shrouded tail rotor, which currently is on Eurocopter’s EC120, EC130, EC135, AS365 Dauphin and EC155 helicopters. For the EC145 T2, its Fenestron has new composite blades, a new-design tail gear box with lower maintenance costs, and incorporates a duplex tail rotor actuator and dual hydraulic circuits. It is installed in a new, damage-tolerant all-composite tail boom.

The EC145 T2’s new Arriel 2E turboshaft engines are digitally controlled by dual Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC), and provide increased performance throughout the helicopter’s operational range. The average performance increase is 25 percent, with significant enhancement in the OEI (one engine inoperative) flight mode.

Other changes for the EC 145 T2 include a new modular avionics suite that incorporates three large primary displays and a 4-axis autopilot as standard equipment. It provides an innovative and efficient human-machine interface for flight crews, improved situational awareness and reduced pilot workload, while also offering additional mission capabilities.

The EC145 T2 launch orders announced today during the aircraft’s Heli-Expo unveiling were led by Spain’s INAER, which signed for 10 aircraft. Its initial helicopters will be in the EMS configuration, with flexibility provided in follow-on deliveries for other mission-specific versions of the rotary-wing aircraft depending upon INAER’s operational requirements.

Additional launch customers for the EC145 T2 are three U.S.-based operators. Metro Aviation for five aircraft in EMS configuration; Leading Edge with one EC145 T2 for business aviation and Lewis Energy for one helicopter to be flown in oil and gas operations.

Eurocopter‘s EC145 T2 launch aircraft, showcased on the company’s Heli-Expo 2011 booth, features the latest configuration for emergency medical services missions, and highlights the flexibility of the spacious cabin. The EMS interior was completed by Metro Aviation, which is based in Shreveport, Louisiana.


Eurocopter Further Enhances the Product Line with Evolution Versions of Four Helicopters In Its Rotary-Wing Aircraft Range

(Source: Eurocopter; issued March 7, 2011)

ORLANDO, Florida --- A comprehensive evolution of Eurocopter’s helicopter product line was announced at the Heli-Expo 2011 exposition in Orlando, Florida, providing enhanced operating capabilities, improved mission effectiveness and increased efficiency across four families in the company’s light, medium and heavy rotary-wing aircraft categories.

These enhanced helicopters result from Eurocopter’s continuing major investments in innovation, and respond to the evolving needs of operators worldwide. They involve the AS350, EC135, AS365/AS565 and AS332 helicopters, and are in addition to Eurocopter’s introduction of its new EC145 T2 – which was unveiled yesterday at Heli-Expo 2011.

“At Eurocopter, we are meeting our promise of investing in the future of helicopter flight, developing this comprehensive evolution of our product line to offer customers even better cost-effectiveness, mission capability, ease of operation and flight safety,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling.

The first of Eurocopter’s enhanced helicopters is making its debut on Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo 2011 exhibit stand: the single-engine AS350 B3e. This updated version of the best-selling Ecureuil family has a more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine, along with a new-generation digital FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) and an engine data recorder for condition monitoring.

As an additional option the aircraft can be operated at its maximum takeoff engine power rating for 30 minutes. This offers the opportunity to equip the AS350 B3e with engine filters for a protection during flight in sand and snow conditions without weight penalty. It incorporates tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting, and also features an improved interior design. Certification of the AS350 B3e is planned this summer, with deliveries to begin before year-end.

Eurocopter’s EC135 T2e and P2e evolved versions of its popular EC135 twin-engine helicopter have an increased maximum takeoff weight of up to 2,950 kg., which offers a 40-kg gain in payload and allows an extra passenger to be carried with a load margin extension from its previous weight rating. Certification of the EC135 T2e/P2e is planned in mid 2011 – with the improvements to be integrated on all new production EC135s from mid-year, and offered for retrofit as well on in-service helicopters.

Enhancements for the AS365 N3e/AS565 MBe versions of Eurocopter’s medium-weight Dauphin family respond to market requests for improved hot-and-high performance, along with new technologies and systems, on this twin-engine helicopter. Primary changes are the introduction of Arriel 2N engines with dual-channel FADEC, use of the main gearbox from Eurocopter’s EC155 helicopter, the incorporation of a new Starflex rotor head, and the application of a reinforced main rotor mast. These upgrades provide a 15 percent increase in power for better performance, a significant payload gain, and reductions in maintenance and operating costs. Certification of the AS365 N3e is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2013, with deliveries targeted to begin in early 2014.

Improvements for the AS332L1e Super Puma are focused on the integration of Eurocopter’s advanced cockpit and automatic flight control systems employed on its EC225/EC725 helicopter. This will offer enhanced flight envelope protection and increased safety levels, along with full compatibility for such new-generation mission equipment as forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTAWS), digital map units, and traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS).

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter group employs approximately 15,600 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros; orders for 346 new helicopters; and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter group employs approximately 15,600 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros; orders for 346 new helicopters; and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.


07-03-11, 03:44 PM
AgustaWestland Is Exhibiting the AW169 Helicopter at Heli-Expo 2011 for the First Time

(Source: AgustaWestland; issued March 6, 2011)

ORLANDO, FL --- Unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2010, the AW169 programme is progressing as planned with the first flight scheduled in 2012 with certification at the end of 2014 and start of deliveries immediately afterwards.

A versatile, new generation twin-engine light intermediate category helicopter, the AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for higher mission flexibility and multi-role capability in the 4.5 ton class and to meet the current and anticipated stringent requirements of commercial and government operators worldwide.

The AW169 will be certified in accordance with the latest amendment of JAR/FAR 29 and JAR-OPS3. In particular, it will be compliant for Category A, Class 1 Operations and IFR Single and Dual Pilot Operations.

The aircraft incorporates several new technology features to provide the highest levels of safety and operational benefits for customers. Next generation technologies are embedded in the rotors, blades, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation & distribution systems.

Key design criteria for the AW169 are multi-role capability, optimized for several applications with the focus being on utility roles, role flexibility through a modular concept for rapid re-configuration, performance with high payload in hot-and-high environments.

New generation technologies, high levels of crashworthiness and an environment friendly design are also key features of the AW169. The spacious, unobstructed cabin space with constant section geometry can accommodate 8 or 10 persons. Alternatively, two longitudinally or transversally mounted stretchers can be accommodated. The AW169 offers high safety standards with high rotor clearance, OEI capability in all flight phases, engine burst containment protection and a 30-min MGB run-dry capability.

Environmental friendliness is core to the AW169 highly efficient design giving low CO2 emissions, a low noise signature and low maintenance. New generation advanced FADEC-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 turboshaft engines will power the AW169 delivering maximum efficiency and low emissions. Advanced rotor aerodynamics with a new blade design will give a very low external noise signature, well below regulatory limits, making the AW169 an eco-friendly helicopter.

The AW169 has been engineered with high TBOs (Time Between Overhaul) for the power plant and all the main components, with a limited number of life-limited parts, high reliability and low maintenance requirements to maximise operational effectiveness.

Thanks to its modern design features and capabilities, the AW169 is aiming to be the most advanced and cost/effective solution for EMS/SAR, law enforcement, passenger transport, offshore transport and utility markets. A wide range of equipments will be available so that each AW169 can be customised to each customer’s requirements.


23-03-11, 02:02 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Heavy Lifter - First CH-53K Taking Shape

Posted by Graham Warwick at 3/22/2011 4:25 PM CDT

It's NOT the weight lifting capacity of the new helo's that worries me but rather the insistence on going with the same width and height. The volume needs to be approx 50% larger, at least, otherwise we are going into the same problems as preceding generations where the lack of room/Space is the PRIME limiting factor not the weight of what is being carried. Also more volume allows you to carry standard Army/SpecFor vehicles and not the ludicrous, custom-made hotch potches that are being reviewed as we speak.............

Sikorsky has opened the assembly facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, where it will build five prototypes for the CH-53K heavylift helicopter development program. The building, formerly home to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, is adjacent to Sikorsky's development flight center, where the CH-53Ks will be tested.

Photo: Sikorsky

Sikorsky was awarded a $3 billion contract in April 2006 to develop the CH-53K to replace US Marine Corps' CH-53Es. First flight has since slipped by two years, and is now planned for fiscal 2013, while initial operational capability in now 2018 - a delay of 40 months from the original goal of September 2015, the US Navy says. At the same time, the Marine Corps has increased the number it plans to buy from 156 to more than 200.

The new-design CH-53K is a heavy helicopter. Although it has the same shipborad footprint as the CH-53E, its maximum gross weight is significantly higher - 74,000lb (vs 69,750lb) with internal load and 88,000lb (vs 73,500lb) with external load. At 27,000lb over 110nm, its lifting capability is almost three times that of the E model.

05-04-11, 02:58 PM
CH-53K Helicopter Program Has Addressed Early Difficulties and Adopted Strategies to Address Future Risks

(Source: Government Accountability Office; issued April 4, 2011)

The CH-53K helicopter mission is to provide combat assault transport of heavy weapons, equipment, and supplies from sea to support Marine Corps operations ashore. Since the program began development in December 2005, its total cost estimate has grown by almost $6.8 billion, from nearly $18.8 billion to over $25.5 billion as a result of a Marine Corps-directed quantity increase from 156 to 200 aircraft and schedule delays.

The majority of the program’s total cost growth is due to added quantities. Development cost growth and schedule delays resulted from beginning development before determining how to achieve requirements within program constraints, with miscommunication between the program office and prime contractor about systems engineering tasks and with late staffing by both the program office and the contractor.

The program has also deferred three performance capabilities and relaxed two maintenance-based technical performance metrics in an effort to defer cost. Delivery of the CH-53K to the warfighter is currently scheduled for 2018—a delay of almost 3 years.

The CH-53K program has made progress addressing the difficulties it faced early in system development. It held a successful critical design review in July 2010 and has adopted mitigation strategies to address future program risk.

The program’s new strategy, as outlined in the President’s fiscal year 2012 budget, lengthens the development schedule, increases development funding, and delays the production decision.

However, adjustments made to the budget submitted to Congress reduce the program’s fiscal year 2012 development funding by $30.5 million (and by a total of $94.6 million between fiscal years 2010 and 2015). According to information contained in the budget, this reduction would result in additional schedule delays to the program of approximately 7 months and a net increase of $69 million to the total development cost estimate.

The CH-53K program’s new acquisition strategy addresses previous programmatic issues that led to early development cost growth and schedule delays.

Click here for the full report (23 pages in PDF format) on the GAO website.



07-04-11, 01:49 PM
CH-53K programme back on track, report claims

April 07, 2011

The US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-35K helicopter programme has ‘made progress and adopted strategies’ in response to the cost and time difficulties it faced in its early stages, a new report has found.

The CH-53K Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) programme was introduced as a solution to the USMC’s ‘critical shortage’ of heavy lift aircraft in 2005, and since then Sikorsky, the manufacturer, and the force have faced a variety of problems, according to the report, released on 4 April by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Since the start of the programme, the increase from 156 to 200 platforms over the period of the contract, alongside schedule delays, caused the total cost of the programme to grow by some $6.8 billion – from $18.8 billion to $25.5 billion.

The delivery of the CH-53K is currently scheduled for 2018, a delay of some three years.

‘Development cost growth and schedule delays resulted from beginning development before determining how to achieve requirements within programme constraints,’ said the GAO, which conducted its analysis from February 2010 through to March 2011.

In addition, miscommunication between the programme office and the prime contractor with regards to systems engineering tasks was blamed, as was the late staffing by both the programme office and the contractor.

However the HLR has ‘made progress addressing the difficulties it faced early in the systems development’, and after a successful critical design review (CDR) in July, mitigation strategies have been adopted to address future programme risk. These included weight improvement plans to locate areas where weight can be reduced, and creating working groups to reduce the risk to the overall capabilities of the platform.

In its new acquisition strategy, outlined in the Pentagon’s FY2012 budget, previous pragmatic issues were addressed, including aligning the cost estimate with the current schedule, and sorting early staffing issues.

The programme received permission to defer three performance capabilities and relax two technical metrics associated with operating and support costs, deemed by the GAO to be ‘sound acquisition decisions’.

Although the USMC will have to rely on the costly, less capable ‘legacy aircraft’ until the CH-53K is completed, the report pointed out that the quantity increase in the aircraft reflected the increase in marines recruits, which went from 174,000 to 202,000.

In February it was announced that the number of troops may decrease again by some 20,000, but that the USMC had determined that the 200 aircraft-requirement remained valid.

The report stated that schedule delays have led to a 39% increase in the development cost, a 35% increase in the estimated programme procurement cost, and the average estimated procurement cost per unit increasing by some 5%, but that the raises were relative to the increase in demand.

The CH-53K is derived from the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, and is expected to ‘maintain the same shipboard footprint’ while providing lift, reliability, maintainability, and cost improvements. It will to be able to transport external loads of 27,000lb over a 110-mile nautical range under high-hot conditions without refuelling, and will fulfil land and sea-based heavy lift requirements.

Beth Stevenson, London

08-04-11, 04:14 AM
Sikorsky moves forward with Raider programme

April 07, 2011

Sikorsky has selected Aurora Flight Sciences to design and build two prototype airframes for the Sikorsky S-97 Raider coaxial compound aircraft programme.

Announced by Aurora in a statement on 5 April, the company said it will use the next ‘several years’ to undergo its design and manufacturing role for the helicopter programme at its Columbus, Mississippi facility.

The aircraft will be developed to meet ‘challenging’ weight, strength and stiffness criteria, and will apply Sikorsky’s structural design methodologies.

‘The S-97 Raider programme is based on Sikorsky Aircraft’s development of the next-generation X2 Technology rotary wing demonstrator aircraft, which features twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller,’ the statement said.

‘In addition to flying at nearly twice the speed of a conventional helicopter, the S-97 Raider prototype aircraft will incorporate other key performance parameters critical to combat operations.’

These include increased manoeuvrability, greater endurance, reduced acoustic noise signature, and the ability to operate at high altitudes.

The prototype programme was launched in October for the development of a scout and attack helicopter platform and the company is developing the aircraft to meet the likely requirements of the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout programme.

Sikorsky’s X2 Technology demonstrator aircraft, which the S-97 will be based on, achieved a speed of 250 knots true air speed in level flight in September 2010, marking the programme’s ultimate speed milestone, and also setting an unofficial speed record for a compound helicopter.

The company said the X2 demonstrator aimed to provide more speed without compromising on hover performance, and to take several new technologies and demonstrate them in a flight environment.

Beth Stevenson, London

09-04-11, 02:58 AM
Eurocopter edges closer to French government funding for X4

April 08, 2011

Eurocopter is reported to have gained approval for a €550 million ($792 million) bond to develop and build the successor to the AS365 Dauphin.

French newspaper La Tribune reported on 7 April that the loan has been approved but had not been officially signed off. However, when approached by Rotorhub.com, Eurocopter said it could not comment on the claim.

Eurocopter has been in negotiations with the French government for the loan since the end of 2009. CEO Lutz Bertling has consistently told journalists that the company needs the bond to develop the Dauphin's successor, a project known as X4, and ensure the aircraft is a 'step change' in helicopter development.

The company told reporters at Heli-Expo in Orlando that it has already made significant headway on the aircraft's development and was close to freezing the X4's design and specification. Bertling also hinted that the aircraft may not have a cockpit in a traditional sense, but pointed out that many of the technologies were not at a mature state and may feature in later models of the aircraft.

La Tribune said the project was particularly important to the French side of the company, based at Marignane near Marseille. The newspaper says that because the Marignane site is restricted in size and limited in scope, it was often rumoured that company would move more work to its Donauwörth plant in Germany, which has more room for expansion.

The company is widely expected to either launch or give more details about the X4 programme at this year's Paris Air Show in June.

Tony Osborne, London

20-04-11, 01:37 PM
Quad A 2011: Advanced engine programme gains momentum

April 20, 2011

A programme that could replace the engines in every US Army Black Hawk and Apache helicopter is gathering pace, with the two industry teams currently testing engine components.

The Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine concept is being pursued by GE Aviation and the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC) – a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell.

The idea, which was launched by the US Army's Aviation and Missile, Research, Development and Evaluation Centre (AMRDEC), aims to replace the T700 engine used on the UH-60 and the AH-64 with a single new generation engine, designed to produce 3,000 shp and give aircraft such as the Black Hawk an improved hot and high performance.

The plan is to give the aircraft the ability to carry a full complement of troops to significantly higher altitudes like those found in the mountains of Afghanistan and specifically at the 6K/95 rating – the ability to operate at 6,000 ft in 95°F (35°C) conditions.

The engine may also be expected to power early iterations of the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) aircraft which the army hopes to field by around 2030.

However, increased power is only a small part of the project's aims. The engine must also produce this without an increase in the weight or indeed size of the engine, as it must be able to drop into the engine compartment of both aircraft. It must also deliver a reduction in the maintenance requirements and operating costs. Most significantly is the need to reduce fuel consumption by 25%.

Craig Madden, president of ATEC and a former army aviation brigade commander said: 'By delivering an engine that is more powerful there are number of indirect savings.

‘Think of a mission that requires troops to be dropped off in the mountains. Currently the Black Hawk at 6K/95 will only take five or six troops as opposed to the 11 or 12 it would normally carry, so two aircraft are needed with the current engines. With the new engines only one aircraft would be needed.'

Both companies are currently in the process of testing engine components.

GE Aviation told Shephard that a complete GE3000 engine will undergo testing towards the end of this year, while ATEC plans to test its own complete HPW3000 engine early in 2012. Tests are due to end in middle of 2012 when the project will move into the EMD phase and evolve into the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP).

'This is a challenging project, and it’s been specified that we cannot use any of the engine technology from the T700 – it has to be an entirely new engine,’ Michael Sousa, Product Development manager at GE said.

'What we are doing is learning from our experience of all the issues that affected the T700 and making sure those are fixed or don't occur in the new engine.'

Jerry Wheeler, vice president of programmes at ATEC, said they felt that while the maintainability and reliability aspects were challenging, those improvements would come from using new technology.

'The biggest challenge will be achieving the 25% reduction in fuel consumption, and that's an area we don't think the Army will change when it comes to the next phase,' Wheeler said.

The market for the chosen engine after down-select to a single contract – which is expected to take place in FY2016 – could be vast, and goes beyond just the US Army's fleets of UH-60s and AH-64s. Foreign customer aircraft of both types could also be retrofitted as could the large number of SH-60 and MH-60 Seahawks used by world navies.

Tony Osborne, Nashville

20-04-11, 03:06 PM
BAE Systems Highlights Boldstroke Common Infrared Countermeasures System at the Army Aviation Association of America’s Annual Professional Forum and Exhibition

(Source: BAE Systems; issued April 19, 2011)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- BAE Systems will display the Boldstroke directable infrared countermeasure system at the Army Aviation Association of America’s Annual Professional Forum and Exhibition April 17-20 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

In the near future, BAE Systems will submit its proposal for the U.S. Army Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) program with its Boldstroke directable infrared countermeasures suite, designed to protect aircraft from infrared-guided missiles and other evolving threats.

The Boldstroke system represents $83 million in company investment in technology and infrastructure to develop the next generation in aircraft survivability equipment and support capability. Boldstroke is a lightweight and highly reliable directable infrared countermeasure suite which uses modular open-system architecture and non-proprietary interfaces that support interchangeability and technology insertion. Boldstroke synthesizes the best attributes of prior generation laser jamming systems to meet the size, weight, and power requirements of both light and heavy rotary-wing platforms.

Boldstroke is fully compatible with BAE Systems’ field-proven Common Missile Warning System and consists of flight-proven hardware and algorithms ready for low-risk transition to operational testing. Its compact pointer/tracker is based on a flight-tested gimbal design and advances laser technology to address emerging threats. The system reduces A-Kit and B-Kit weight to maximize aircraft useful payload and increases weapon system availability, providing significant life-cycle cost savings.

“Highly relevant experience matters in the development and production of directable laser systems, and that is certainly the case for the common infrared countermeasure program,” said Jim Crouch, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Survivability and Protection Solutions business area in Nashua, N.H.

“For 30 years we have pioneered threat exploitation, jam code development, hardware-in-the-loop simulations, flight tests, and live fire tests. We’ve delivered more than 10,000 infrared countermeasure systems and have experience on every single Army platform, and most importantly, our infrared countermeasure systems are saving lives in combat today. BAE Systems has the technology, experience, and commitment to ensure Boldstroke exceeds the Army’s requirements.”


20-04-11, 05:12 PM
Quad A 2011: Sikorsky readies S-97 Raider

April 20, 2011

Sikorksy is getting ready to build its S-97 Raider demonstrator prototypes as part of its bid to meet the needs of the US Army's requirement for an armed aerial scout aircraft.

The company believes the X-2 technology the Raider is based on will offer army pilots a new way to fly and fight and plans to have the first prototype S-97 ready for flight in 2014.

This will be used to open the flight envelope of the aircraft while a second prototype will be used as a demonstrator allowing army and US Marine Corps pilots to experience the aircraft.

In presentations at Quad A 2011 in Nashville, the company argued that the aircraft was more agile and less vulnerable to enemy fire compared to traditional scout helicopters such as the Kiowa Warrior.

'While the S-97 has a greater performance envelope, it still has the flexibility of a traditional helicopter,' Steve Engebretson, armed aerial scout director for Sikorsky, said.

One of the likely weapons of the S-97 would be fixed cannon like that found on Kiowa Warrior but, unlike that aircraft, the S-97 would not have to make strafing runs. Using the rear propeller a crew can lower the nose of the S-97, and by extension the gun, without forcing the aircraft to fly forward as it would do on a traditional helicopter.

'The reverse pitch of the rear propeller keeps the aircraft from accelerating and holds it in the hover,' said Engebretson.

This would allow the crew to aim the weapon and fire it from a distance without potentially exposing itself to enemy fire as might have to on a strafing run.

The company said that data from the X2’s 18 flight hours from 20 sorties showed the aircraft can out-turn and out-accelerate traditional helicopters, making any X2-derived aircraft less vulnerable.

Before the sole X2 demonstrator is retired to the Smithsonian, Sikorsky is planning to make a final series of customer demonstration flights. These are due to take place during mid-2011.

Tony Osborne, Nashville

21-04-11, 03:14 AM
Nearly missed this earlier report from QUAD..........


A Defense Technology Blog

On the Show Floor at Quad-A

Posted by Graham Warwick at 4/19/2011 9:05 PM CDT

The Army Aviation Association of America (Quad-A) has been having its annual bash in Nashville. Here are some shots from the show floor.

Sikorsky's high-speed, coaxial-rotor S-97 X2 Raider (above) has changed slightly as it moves from full-scale mockup towards two flying prototypes. The latest artwork shows changes to the glasswork and the switch to a taildragger configuration with the retractable main gear upfront. The private-venture prototypes are scheduled to fly in 2014 and Sikorsky says an aircraft meeting the US Army's Armed Aerial Scout requirement would be ready to enter service in 2025.

If the Army can't wait that long to replace its OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, EADS says it will complete the company-funded demonstration of its EC145-based AAS-72X by year-end. The model at Quad-A (below) shows the upturned-exhaust infrared suppressors planned for the production version. If the Army's requirements grow, EADS says it could move to basing its AAS bid on the new EC145T2 with its more-powerful engines and more-effective Fenestron anti-torque system.

While it decides what to do with AAS, the Army is also getting started on the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program to demonstrate technology for a next-generation rotorcraft to enter service by 2030, most likely a medium-sized family to replace the AH-64 and UH-60. Up to five configuration study contracts are to be awarded in May. Among the bidders is Piasecki, which is proposing the Pathfinder IV compound-helicopter based on its X-49A Speedhawk. On display is a model (below) of the smaller Pathfinder IV-2, sized for shipborne operations.

A couple of interesting design points. Firstly, the wings are hinged to tilt vertical in the hover to reduce the downforce from rotor downwash. Differential tilt (one slightly forward, one slightly back) can offset rotor toque in the hover. Secondly, engine exhaust is ducted to the tips of the V-shaped tail surfaces for stealth and to avoid hot gasses entering the vectored-thrust ducted propeller.

Among the many unmanned aircraft on show, and making its first public appearance, is AeroMech Engineering's flying-wing Fury B (below), now in flight test. The Air Force Research Laboratory awarded AeroMech a $13.1 million contract last year to develop the Sand Dragon anti-IED route-clearance Class 2 UAV for evaluation in Afghanistan. Sand Dragon comprises four rail-launched, multi-sensor Fury Bs.

Also making its first appearance, on an AH-64D Apache on display at Quad-A (below), is the Ground Fire Acquisition System (GFAS), which will be fielded to Afghanistan beginning in August. The system comprises pods on the tips of the stub wings that each carry three Radiance Technologies WeaponWatch cameras. These can detect, classify and locate the flashes of gunfire and RPG launches and provide threat indications on the Apache's tactical situation display.

26-04-11, 01:16 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

AgustaWestland committed to AW149 despite Turkish defeat

By Craig Hoyle

AgustaWestland has voiced its disappointment following Turkey's selection of a development of the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk for a 109-aircraft deal, but says it will continue to offer its AW149 to the international market.

"Turkey's aerospace industry has lost a unique opportunity to become a major player in the helicopter industry through the co-development of a new-generation helicopter," says Ugo Rossini, AgustaWestland's head of Europe.

Speaking after Turkish defence minister Vecdi Gonul on 21 April named the T-70 as the winner of the nation's general-purpose helicopter project (TUHP), Rossini said the European company had offered "an unprecedented level of co-operation", with "technology transfer, design and manufacturing autonomy".

While it had hoped to build on its previous success in selling a derivative of the AW129 Mangusta attack helicopter to the Turkish army, AgustaWestland notes: "The TUHP was conceived from the very beginning as a Black Hawk acquisition project."

Despite the setback, the company says it "is committed to carrying on with the development of the AW149." According to its market analysis, more than 8,000 helicopters in the medium-twin design's class will need to be replaced over the next 35 years.

Sikorsky, meanwhile, has revealed that the TUHP project has a total value of $3.5 billion, and will cover the production of 109 aircraft. Previous plans had suggested that up to 121 helicopters would be bought for the Turkish armed forces, plus bodies including the police, gendarma and forest ministry.

The US company says it will now move to finalise contract details with Turkey's undersecretary of defence industries procurement agency and prime contractor Turkish Aerospace Industries. It also will invest in "expanding the dynamic component manufacturing capability of Alp Aviation", in which it holds a 50% stake.

"Sikorsky looks forward to entering into this expanded partnership with Turkey to meet their present and future rotorcraft needs," says company president Jeffrey Pino.

TAI will be responsible for the assembly of all TUHP aircraft under the expected 10-year deal.

28-04-11, 06:49 AM
Will We Ever See That Leap Ahead in Chopper Tech?

Here’s a question we’ve been hearing for well over a year now, where’s the serious innovation going to come from in the helicopter industry? Think about it almost all of the Pentagon’s choppers, even the new buys like the Marines’ CH-53K, are based on decades-old designs.

One problem, industry officials have long said, is that as government R&D funding for rotorcraft dries up, the talent needed to produce serious leaps ahead in technology will dwindle. This lack of cash and engineering resources means that we’ll continue to see incremental increases in chopper tech but serious leaps ahead like we saw in previous decades have largely disappeared, save for the nearly three-decade long developmental saga of the V-22 Osprey.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece I wrote last year at Defense News:

“Production funding [for old designs] is at an all-time high,” while rotorcraft R&D funds are at an all-time low, said Phil Dunford, vice president of international rotorcraft systems at Boeing. “What’s driving that is that over the last 10 or 15 years we’ve been in a war-fighting environment, and that’s driven production rates up and R&D funding has dropped off to match.”

The helicopter industry has simply refined and upgraded airframe designs that are up to 50 years old, meaning that in some cases, helicopters remain as vulnerable to small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and sand brownouts as they were during the Vietnam War, Dunford said.

This trend may now be coming to a slow end. The Pentagon recently unveiled plans to develop four new classes of chopper known as “joint multi-role” rotorcraft. They’re supposed to be employed by all four services (like the H-60 Black Hawk design) and are supposed to share basic design characteristics in an effort to keep costs down. The birds will be in the light, medium, heavy and ultra– size categories and the Army just unveiled its requirements for a medium-size, optionally-manned aircraft under the aegis of the joint multi-role effort.

Calling them choppers is a bit of a misnomer since the Army wants an aircraft that can carry nine troops along with sensors and weapons and fly at 200 knots. That’s a serious evolution in technology that, as Steve Trimble has pointed out, will require something along the lines of a V-22-like design. Or maybe, one of Sikorsky’s new coaxial-rotor birds, like the S-97 Raider as shown in the video above. Given that the Army wants its birds in service by 2030, this means industry has got to scramble. For now, my money is on Bell-Boeing and Sikorsky to produce designs that are at the front of the competition. Boeing’s already got production and design experience building the 200+ knot V-22 and Sikorsky is planning on flying the Raider by mid-decade.

Still, we’ll see what happens with this effort in an age of belt tightening and an eye toward buying weapons systems that are built off proven technology.

Read more: http://defensetech.org/#ixzz1Kn2mDYRu

05-05-11, 02:58 AM
I'll stick the discussion on the helicopter destroyed on the raid here as it has more to do with Future Helicopters than Bin Laden............

Aviation Geeks Scramble to ID bin Laden Raid’s Mystery Copter

By David Axe May 4, 2011 | 5:12 pm

Updated 8:33 p.m, May 4

The May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s luxury compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, had it all: painstaking intelligence-gathering, a heroic Navy SEAL assault team, satellite and drone surveillance, and biometric forensics.

And now this: a possible super-secret, stealthy helicopter, unknown to the wider world before one crashed during the assault.

Aviation specialists are picking apart pixel-by-pixel the dozen-or-so photos of the copter that have appeared online. They’re assembling digital mock-ups of the aircraft and comparing them to lost stealth designs of the 1980s and ’90s. Speculation abounds, and so far no one from the government is commenting. But depending on what the copter turns out to be, it could shed new light on everything from the abilities of U.S. commandos to the relationship between the United States and Pakistan.

Opinions about the copter seem to fall into three basic camps. The most-cautious observers believe the wreckage is from a conventional chopper that got so badly mangled during the crash that it became unrecognizable. In the center, there are those who think the helicopter is an Army MH-60 Blackhawk tweaked to make it quieter and more stealthy. On the fringes, the true believers are talking about a brand-new, radar-evading helicopter design.

Considering the proliferation of bewildering photos from the crash site, the conservative viewpoint seems unlikely. Equally, the notion of a brand-new “black” helicopter seems far-fetched, especially considering the Army’s long history of heavily modifying existing rotorcraft for secret missions.

That leaves an upgraded, stealth-optimized MH-60 as the most likely candidate — a conclusion that jibes with CIA director Leon Panetta’s assertion Tuesday that the 25-man strike team was “carried in two Blackhawk helicopters that went in.”

A story by ace reporter Sean Naylor in Army Times, published just minutes after the initial version of this post, supports this conclusion. Naylor quotes a retired Special Forces aviator saying the special Blackhawk, modified by Lockheed Martin, has “hard edges, sort of like an … F-117″ stealth fighter from the same company.

According to a source who spoke to our own Spencer Ackerman, the modifications might have taken place with the help of a mysterious Army organization called the “Technology Applications Program Office,” located at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Blackhawk Down?

Aside from one IT consultant who unwittingly live-tweeted the bin Laden raid, reports from Pakistani sources of a crashed helicopter were the first evidence that something was going down in Abbottabad. “According to eyewitnesses, a low-flying helicopter crashed in a populated area, and as a result two houses were engulfed in flames,” a Pakistani news service reported.

One local news agency claimed the downed bird was Pakistani. It wasn’t until several hours later that U.S. government sources clarified the initial stories. “We lost one helicopter due to mechanical failure,” a senior U.S. official said. “The aircraft was destroyed by the crew, and the assault force and crew members boarded the remaining aircraft to exit the compound.”

The official’s insistence — echoed later by Panetta — that there were just two choppers involved in the 25-man raid raised some eyebrows.

According to Capt. Crispin Burke, a U.S. Army Blackhawk pilot and Danger Room pal, two of the copters together can just barely squeeze in 25 people plus their weapons and other gear. But it’s inconceivable that a single surviving Blackhawk could have transported all 25 members of the assault team. Anyone who’s ridden in a Blackhawk knows that.

More than two choppers were present over bin Laden’s compound, despite what the administration was saying. That was the first indication that, as far as helicopters were concerned, something unusual was afoot.

Then came the photos. When the sun rose in Abbottabad, enterprising photographers with the European Press Agency and the Associated Press snapped pics showing the remains of the destroyed U.S. helicopter. The snapshots apparently depicted features not found on standard Blackhawks. Late on May 3, the first headlines appeared announcing the existence of a previously unknown “stealth helicopter.”

The Invisible Rotorcraft

So what was it that betrayed the downed choppers’ secret roots? Nearly rivetless skin, odd control surfaces, a shrouded tail rotor and special infrared-absorbing paint, for starters.

“Note how the UH-60 has a large stabilator [horizontal fin] with plenty of rivets,” Burke commented. “The one in the crash is much smaller, very smooth and swept back. Strange.”

A “round shield-like affair over the tail-rotor hub is an airflow diverter, designed to eliminate the turbulence around the rotor hub, making it more efficient,” wrote “Bill” from the milblog Arrgggh!. The diverter “probably has a secondary effect of reducing the noise of the tail rotor by making it directional.”

A very clear photo of that “shield” was given to Reuters, and appear at the top of this story.)

“The aircraft skin is interesting,” Bill continued. “It’s perfectly smooth, and I have a nagging hunch it’s something I’ve seen before, back in the late ’80s” — on an experimental OH-6 “Loach” scout chopper.

To him, the paint on the wrecked chopper appeared to be a “variation on the Invisible Loach — a light-emitting appliqué film which, coupled to directional cameras, will exactly reproduce the light and color patterns on the opposite side of the aircraft. Think of the aircraft as being made of glass.”

The stealthy copter also has a “special coating” on its windshield to scatter radar waves, Naylor asserts in his Army Times story.

Combined, the details imply a helicopter design that is more stealthy than standard choppers in every sense of the term. “Such a helicopter would not be invisible or silent, but would be harder to detect and track using an X-band or Ku-band radar, and quieter than a conventional helicopter,” said Carlo Kopp, joint head of the Air Power Australia think tank.

Based on the evidence, and the assumption that these improvements were applied to a basic Blackhawk airframe, aviation artist Ugo Crisponi produced a quick rendering of what the secret chopper might look like. The components depicted in the new Guardian photos — plus Naylor’s detailed description — match Crisponi’s concept pretty closely.

Historians and analysts were quick to point out precedents for the elusive bird. The obvious example is the Army’s überexpensive RAH-66 Comanche, killed off in 2004. That bird, Copp said, featured “shrouded rotor heads and unspecified absorbent materials” just like the mystery craft from Abbottabad.

John Pike, from Virginia-based Globalsecurity.org, highlighted the “MH-X,” a low-signature transport chopper project from the 1980s that was reportedly tested alongside the F-117 stealth fighter and B-2 stealth bomber.

Based on Naylor’s reporting, it appears that a handful of special Blackhawks — probably no more than four — indeed originated from the MH-X program, but plans for a large, permanent unit to fly these birds was cancelled “within the last two years.” Instead, Army Special Forces aviators took turns training on the stealth copters in Nevada, possibly at the secretive base known by some as “Area 51.”

Stealth Copter, Clear Politics

Though the evidence is mounting that the newly revealed black chopper is more angular Blackhawk derived from the MH-X program, it could be a while before we know for sure. The Pentagon is slow to reveal its most-advanced aircraft.

Nearly two years have passed since the Air Force admitted it possessed a stealthy spy drone, the RQ-170 — and we still don’t have an official photo of that bird. Moreover, statements from Washington seem intended to obscure the issue of the mystery chopper.

In any event, the implications are potentially enormous. For one, the existence of a stealthy helicopter means we must revise upward our assessment of U.S. Special Operations Forces’ ability to strike fast and unseen, all over the world.

Second, we should take with a grain of salt all the recent hand-wringing over the supposed decay in the American military rotorcraft industry. If we really have already fielded the world’s first radar-evading helicopter, there’s less reason to worry that the United States might have lost its chopper-making skills.

Third, the fact that the Pentagon was willing to risk its most secret whirlybird “shows the importance of the mission in the eyes of U.S. commanders,” according to Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, who was, as usual, among the first to report on the new chopper.

Finally, the black helicopter sheds new light on the military’s suspicion of possible Pakistani interference in the bin Laden raid. In his speech announcing bin Laden’s death, President Barack Obama heaped praise on Pakistan. “Our counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden.”

But Panetta later admitted that the United States had deliberately not told Pakistan of the impending raid. That “could jeopardize the mission,” because Pakistan “might alert the targets.”

Moreover, Joint Special Operations Command wasn’t comfortable simply arriving on the scene in its decidedly radar-visible Army Chinooks or Air Force MV-22 tilt-rotors. That would’ve meant essentially barging into Pakistani airspace, and hoping that Islamabad would refrain from targeting the attackers with surface-to-air-missiles.

No, JSOC felt it was necessary to stay off Pakistani radar displays for as long as possible. The unavoidable inference is that the commandos feared Pakistan might actually shoot at unannounced American choppers. That revelation, more so than the mere existence of a stealthy helicopter, could be the most compelling news of all.

Photo: Reuters, Associated Press.
Satellite image courtesy GeoEye.
Illustration courtesy David Cenciotti.

05-05-11, 03:16 AM
Mission Helo Was Secret Stealth Black Hawk

By Sean D. Naylor

Published: 4 May 2011 18:07

The helicopters that flew the Navy SEALs on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden were a radar-evading variant of the special operations MH-60 Black Hawk, according to a retired special operations aviator.

The helicopter's low-observable technology is similar to that of the F-117 Stealth Fighter the retired special operations aviator said. "It really didn't look like a traditional Black Hawk," he said. It had "hard edges, sort of like an … F-117, you know how they have those distinctive edges and angles - that's what they had on this one."

In addition, "in order to keep the radar cross-section down, you have to do something to treat the windshield," he said. If a special coating was applied to the windshield it is "very plausible" that would make the helicopter more difficult to fly for pilots wearing night-vision goggles, he said. The helicopters carrying the SEALs arrived over the bin Laden compound at about 1 a.m. local time on May 2. One crash-landed in the courtyard and was so badly damaged it was unable to take off again.

That crash landing might have been caused by a phenomenon known as "settling with power," which occurs when a helicopter descends too quickly because its rotors cannot get the lift required from the turbulent air of their own downwash.

"It's hard to settle with power in a Black Hawk, but then again, if they were using one of these [low-observable helicopters], working at max gross weight, it's certainly plausible that they could have because they would have been flying so heavy," the retired special operations aviator said, noting that low-observable modifications added "several hundred pounds" to the weight of the MH-60, which already weighs about 500 to 1000 pounds more than a regular UH-60 Black Hawk.

The special operations troops on the bin Laden mission destroyed the stricken aircraft - most likely using thermite grenades - but the resultant fire left the helicopter's tail boom, tail rotor assembly and horizontal stabilizers intact in the compound's courtyard.

Photographs of the wreckage taken the next day raced around the Internet, creating a firestorm of speculation among military aviation enthusiasts because the tail of the helicopter did not resemble any officially acknowledged U.S. military airframe.

This was to be expected, the retired special operations aviator said.

"Certain parts of the fuselage, the nose and the tail had these various almost like snap-on parts to them that gave it the very unique appearance," he said.

He and another source referred to the disc-shaped device that is seen covering the tail rotor in the photographs as a "hubcap."

If the radar-evading technology worked, it "would be a true statement" to say that the use of the low-observable Black Hawks was evidence that the United States gave Pakistani authorities no advance warning of the mission, the retired special operations aviator added.

The low-observable program started with AH-6 Little Bird special operations attack helicopters in the 1980s, said the aviator. During the 1990s U.S. Special Operations Command worked with the Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works division, which also designed the F-117, to refine the radar-evading technology and apply it to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-60s, he said. USSOCOM awarded a contract to Boeing to modify several MH-60s to the low-observable design "in the '99 to 2000 timeframe," he said.

Initial plans called for the low-observable Black Hawks to be formed into a new unit commanded by a lieutenant colonel and located at a military facility in Nevada, the retired special operations aviator said. "The intent was always to move it out west where it could be kept in a covered capability," he said.

USSOCOM planned to assign about 35 to 50 personnel to the unit, the retired special operations aviator said. "There were going to be four [low-observable] aircraft, they were going to have a couple of 'slick' unmodified Black Hawks, and that was going to be their job was to fly the low-observables."

SOCOM canceled those plans "within the last two years," but not before at least some of the low-observable helicopters had been delivered to the Nevada facility, the retired aviator said. "I don't know if it was for money or if it was because the technology was not achieving the reduction in the radar cross-section that they were hoping for," he said. In the meantime, MH-60 Black Hawk crews from the 160th's 1st Battalion, headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky., would rotate to Nevada to train on the stealthy aircraft, he said.

The low-observable MH-60s were armed with the same sort of door mini-guns as standard MH-60s, he said. "There was not a DAP conversion," he added, referring to the MH-60 variant known as the Direct Action Penetrator, which is equipped with stub wings upon which can be fitted a variety of armaments.

The early versions of the low-observable Black Hawks were not fitted with air-to-air refueling probes, the retired special operations aviator said. "The probe would disrupt the ability to reduce the radar cross-section," he added. "There was no way to put some kind of a hub or cowling over the probe that would make it stealthy." However, he said he did not know whether the models that flew the bin Laden mission had been equipped with such probes.

USSOCOM spokesman Army Col. Tim Nye said his command had no comment for this story.

Marcus Weisgerber contributed to this story.

05-05-11, 10:28 AM
Here's an expanded CAD drawing of the tail section, via SNAFU Blog...............

05-05-11, 02:12 PM
Bin Laden raid reveals new stealth helicopter

May 05, 2011

The raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan has inadvertently led to the revealing of a previously unknown helicopter.

Photos published across the internet reveal components of a so far unidentified helicopter, which crashed after taking part in the raid by US forces on bin Laden’s hideout near Abbottabad, Pakistan, on 1 May.

The aircraft made a forced landing in the compound next to the house in which the terrorist leader was sheltering.

When it was realised that the aircraft could not be flown out, it was destroyed by the special forces team before they departed, leaving only the remains of the tail fin, stabilisers and much of the tail rotor system intact on the other side of a wall.

Images show the tail rotor system and indeed the entire assembly is unlike that from any known production or in-development rotorcraft, and features a number of unique features including slightly forward swept stabilisers and faceted smooth surfaces normally associated with aircraft with low-observable capabilities. On normal helicopters these surfaces would be rough with rivets and joins.

The tail rotor itself is blanked off using a large disk with the blades protruding out from this disk.

Examination of the photographs suggests the aircraft is a heavily modified version of the army’s ubiquitous UH-60 Black Hawk. Several clues certainly suggest an H-60 lineage including the two large tail stabilisers.

The remaining section of the tail boom suggests this was enlarged perhaps to allow the fitment of a retractable tail wheel and allow the rear to be shaped to reduce radar returns. The standard tail rotor has clearly been replaced by a five, possibly-six-bladed rotor system.

The changes to the tail rotor would certainly help to reduce this Black Hawk derivative’s noise output especially if combined with a similar number of blades on the main rotor, no doubt improving the element of surprise for the special forces against anyone standing guard at the compound that night.

Photos published online on Wednesday reveal more clearly that the tail rotor assembly is fitted to a large pod atop the vertical fin. This might have been designed so that the tail snugly fits onto the fin without producing significant radar returns, from the various components.

Questions remain about how the aircraft is used however. It’s unlikely that the aircraft would have gone into the target area along with other conventional helicopters like the Chinook or Black Hawk as it would render the low-observable capabilities of the aircraft virtually useless. It’s likely that the variant’s role is as a pathfinder working alone or as a pair with an identical aircraft to deliver a first wave of troops quietly without little or no warning and to pave the way for reinforcements arriving later.

There is no doubt that flying the mission would have been a significant challenge particularly as the aircraft was probably both fully loaded with troops and fuel for the long mission. The latest version of the UH-60, the ‘Mike’ model is built to meet the army’s needs to operate at 4,000 feet at 95F (35C), the so-called 4K/95 requirement. The mission to Abbottabad could have tested this to the limit, as the area lies at around 1,200m (3,900 ft) above sea level.

Quizzed by reporters about why the helicopter crashed, US Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said: ‘The temperature was 17 degrees higher than anticipated, and based on the temperature, and the load in the helicopter, the helicopter began to descend, and so it was a kind of controlled but hard landing.’

It’s likely that the modifications to this aircraft could well have added significantly to the aircraft’s weight, especially if those modifications are on top of those fitted to 160th SOAR MH-60s, which are already amongst the heaviest H-60 variants around.

Interestingly, the 160th SOAR has only just taken delivery of their first MH-60Ms, and the model wasn’t yet available for combat operations according to personnel from the unit who were present at the annual Quad A convention in Nashville in April, so it’s unlikely that this stealthy variant of the Black Hawk has been developed from the ‘Mike’.

US officials are saying nothing about the aircraft, yet. Yet despite the obvious hitch on what was probably one of the most high-profile missions it could ever carry out, it managed to get its passengers safely and quietly to the target to complete their mission.

Tony Osborne, London

05-05-11, 02:43 PM
Some of this OMFG STEALTH CHOPPA nonsense doing the rounds is just as funny as the OMFG BIN LADEN IS CIA theories, if you ask me...

I was a particular fan of this article: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/05/army-mission-helocopter-was-secret-stealth-black-hawk-050411/

05-05-11, 04:30 PM
One of my firends in the States reckons The Bin Man is locked up in the USA somewhere but then again he reckons he's met Elvis a year or two ago, the Moon landings happened at Paramount Studios and that his MIL comes from Mars...........I believe the latter having had the gross displeasure of meeting the Bitch (grabbing my nuts is not guaranteed to make me happy OR give me a sexual thrill.......)

The rest just brings the worst of my sarcasm..............:speechless

06-05-11, 04:08 AM
Yeah this raid has certainly brought out the Crazies. For some reason no-one can accept that a person who doesn't use a mobile phne or the Internet, who travels under fictitious names and doesn't cross through official border controls and constantly uses aliases, owns no identifiable property, business interests, bank accounts or vehicles and is insanely paranoid (for good reason) about who he talks to and deals with could possibly be hard to track down...

How exactly this is to be done of course is not ever seriously contemplated. Agencies such as the CIA are seen as all-powerful, all-knowing entities on the one hand so they SHOULD be able to track such a person without issue but incompetent on the other hand whenever they don't or can't...

Gubler, A.
06-05-11, 04:19 AM
It’s not just the crazies that are sprouting nonsense. Many perfectly sane and even intelligent people have opinions on these matters, and many others relating to strategic events, that are as out there as flat earthism, anti inoculation and support for Wests Tigers. When you combine a knowledge base informed mostly by Hollywood movies and thought processes heavily influenced by Marcusian critical theory you get this kind of nonsense.

06-05-11, 04:47 AM
...........and support for Wests Tigers.

:abovelol :abovelol :abovelol

09-05-11, 06:39 PM
DoD: What secret helicopter?

By Philip Ewing Monday, May 9th, 2011 11:38 am

A top Pentagon spokesman on Monday would not confirm the U.S. generally or DoD specifically has asked the government of Pakistan to return the wrecked tail rotor of the so-called “stealth” helicopter that crashed last week in the compound of Osama bin Laden. Marine Col. Dave Lapan told reporters he would not discuss news reports that said American officials were trying to recover the pieces, presumably to safeguard their secrets.

Lapan and other Pentagon officials declined to talk about the helicopter beyond offering simple acknowledgement that it crash-landed during the SEALs’ assault and then was destroyed by the special operators before they left. Reporters’ curiosity about the helicopter has exploded; CBS News, the New York Times and many other international news outlets all have covered what little is known about it.

Lapan would not confirm whether DoD will need to ask Congress for funding to replace the helicopter as a combat loss, although that raises an interesting notion: If the helicopter is a standard Army MH-60 Black Hawk that was modified by its users, it may be possible for the Army to just shift another helo to its specialists for another modification, and as such the service could buy more Black Hawks without revealing that they would get the “stealth” upgrade.

But judging from the widely circulated crash site photos, modding out a Black Hawk to the “stealth” configuration isn’t as simple as just bolting on some new bodywork — the empennage has different tail rotors, some kind of cone that covers the rotor hub, and a forward-swept tailplanes, all of which probably required help from the Black Hawk’s manufacturer, Sikorsky, or another aerospace firm.

It’s possible that Special Operations Command engaged Sikorsky, Boeing, or another contractor to do the engineering and build the custom components for a Black Hawk’s “stealth kit” as part of a larger modernization program: SOCOM has been upgrading its helicopters across the board and commanders may have seen an opportunity to augment a remanufactured or new helicopter with “stealth” features.

Per SOCOM’s official site:

The MH-60 SOF modernization program takes Skorsky’s new-build UH-60M aircraft from the Army and modifies them with SOF-unique mission equipment.

No kidding!

The MH-60M aircraft will feature CAS, wide-chord rotor blades, active vibration reduction and the improved Electro-Optical Sensor System. The most significant modification, however, is the incorporation of two General Electric YT706-GE-700 engines. These 2,500 shaft horsepower engines will give the aircraft a high/hot capability unmatched by any H-60 variant currently fielded. As the MH-60M is fielded, the 160th SOAR will begin phasing out the current MH-60K/L fleet.

The problem with this theory is the only way to prove or disprove it is for DoD to come clean — and, at least for now, that ain’t happenin’.

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/05/09/dod-what-secret-helicopter/#ixzz1LsFg4Rr0

11-05-11, 04:58 PM
Human-Powered Helicopter to Take Flight

Analysis by Nic Halverson

Mon May 9, 2011 09:23 AM ET

With a nod to the zany flying machines of the days of yore, some University of Maryland students will attempt to make history this Wednesday when they test-fly their human-powered helicopter for the first time.

In hopes of propelling them towards winning the Sikorsky Prize, a team of more than 50 graduate and undergraduate students from the A. James Clark School of Engineering will be taking their helicopter, Gamera, for its maiden voyage.

Gamera has rotors at each of the four ends of its X-shaped frame. Each crossbar of the frame is 60-feet long and each rotor is 42 feet in diameter. Under the frame sits a pilot's model, where a student will power the helicopter with a combination of hand and foot pedaling.

Gamera weighs-in at a feathery 210 pounds, student pilot included, and owes its light weight to the balsa wood, foam, mylar and carbon fiber used in construction.

If Gamera can hover for 60 seconds, reach a height of three meters and remain within a 10-meter box from lift off, the team will take home the Sikorsky Challenge's $250,000 prize. Doing so will also nab the team a world record for first human-powered helicopter powered by a female.

The pilot for the test flight will be University of Maryland life science graduate student, Judy Wexler.

The team has been tinkering on Gamera for two years to compete for the Sikorsky Prize, which is run by the American Helicopter Society (AHS). Currently, the Clark School team is the only team sanctioned by the AHS for making an official attempt. No team has succeeded since the prize was first offered in 1980.

Somewhere, the ghosts of Leonardo da Vinci and the Wright Brothers are giving thumbs-up.

Uploaded by TeamGameraHPH on Dec 5, 2010

University of Maryland's Human Powered Helicopter project, the Gamera, is nearing completion after years of testing and construction.

UPDATES! This video was made in late 2010 when the vehicle was not fully completed. May 6th 2011 the vehicle was fully assembled for the first time and the weight is down from the 140 lbs quoted in the video to an amazing 100lbs! That's careful design, planning, and testing at work.

The first full flight attempt will be on May 11th, 2011 and will be live streamed at this URL:


12-05-11, 04:07 PM
IDEF 2011: Sikorsky reveals plans for a new light twin helicopter

May 12, 2011

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Sikorsky are working together on the development of a new light twin helicopter, which will fill a gap in the US helicopter giant’s product line in the 3.5 to 4.5 ton class.

In a joint press conference to outline details of the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP), which saw Sikorsky named as preferred bidder with its T-70 Black Hawk at the end of April, Sikorsky vice president of strategic partnerships Steve Estill revealed the two companies were in discussion about the co-development of a Turkish light helicopter.

‘We are very excited about that project as it does round out Sikorsky’s product line and brings a much-needed product to the US and we are very pleased with the possible co-operation with TAI,’ Estill said.

If the project goes ahead, TAI would take the lead on the design, flight testing and production of the aircraft, with Sikorsky assuming a supporting role, and the aircraft then jointly marketed, sold and supported around the world.

‘Our role in that will be to serve as a supporting organisation for TAI. It is not our intention to develop a helicopter on our own but work with TAI, who will do the engineering, the flight testing, with Sikorsky providing some assistance in certification of the helicopter for both the US and Europe,’ Estill explained.

The two companies envisage potential global sales of some 100 aircraft per year, generating more than $600 million.

Supporting material released at the conference show a sleek, low drag design, which will feature a light-weight, composite airframe; fly-by-wire flight controls; and ‘high efficiency’ main rotor. The document also revealed that Sikorsky is considering leveraging its X2 co-axial compound aircraft design, suggesting an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter-type partnership for an X2-based light tactical and attack helicopter with Turkey.

Indigenous production of a new light helicopter will result in a significant expansion of TAI’s helicopter capabilities, the Ankara-based company taking the lead role in the development of the transmission, blades and hubs, flight controls, fuselage and landing gear. Aselsan is likely to be brought in to supply the avionics and mission systems.

Sikorsky is currently working with the SSM on the final contract for the T-70 helicopter – Estill predicting an award in the next two to three months – and expects to release more details on the light helicopter once work on the Turkish Black Hawk begins proper.

Tony Skinner, Istanbul

13-05-11, 01:26 AM
Indications Of Hawk Works In Stealth Helo

May 12, 2011

By Bill Sweetman

The stealthier H-60 Black Hawk helicopters used in the May 1 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound may have been modified at Sikorsky’s Hawk Works facilities near Elmira, N.Y. That is where the United Technologies Corp. helicopter company has completed specialized, low-volume Black Hawk variants and has conducted prototyping activities, such as the construction of the X2 demonstrator.

One indicator of the current sensitivity of the Hawk Works facilities may be that attempts have been made to alter images of them in Google Earth, the leading public portal for aerial and satellite imagery. The Elmira Corning Regional Airport has been blurred out of images supplied by government agencies to Google Earth.

Sikorsky’s Elmira activities build on a legacy that includes low-noise aircraft built for the CIA and other agencies and overseas governments via the 2004 acquisition of Schweizer Aircraft Co. The manufacturer of the 300/330-series helicopters, Schweizer produced a family of ultra-quiet reconnaissance aircraft based on its sailplane designs, including the single-engine SA 2-37B (military designation RG-8A), the tandem-twin-engine SA-38A and its turbine-powered derivative, the SA-38B, designated RU-38A/B.

In fact, the Schweizer acquisition was directed by Paul Martin, former Sikorsky senior vice president for advanced development programs, who joined Sikorsky in 2000 from Lockheed Martin, where he had been executive vice president of its Skunk Works. Martin demurred when asked to comment.

Martin left Sikorsky in 2007 and is now president of California-based management consultancy Humphreys & Associates. Martin’s biography at Humphreys notes that at Sikorsky he was “responsible for all ongoing military production and advanced development programs at Sikorsky. These programs included ... several classified programs.”

From a program viewpoint, a stealth-modified Black Hawk program could have been integrated into the MH-60 Modernization Program for U.S. Army special operations units, which started in 2005 and is delivering 73 MH-60M helicopters to replace the current MH-60K/L force. The first MH-60Ms were delivered to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) in Fort Campbell, Ky., in February 2011.

Budgeted at $1.07 billion through fiscal 2016, the program delivers common-standard helicopters based on the Army UH-60M, but with more powerful General Electric YT706 engines (equivalent to the commercial CT7-8) and added communications, situational awareness and survivability equipment. This includes the Raytheon Silent Knight radar, designed to provide in-weather terrain-following and avoidance while operating in a low-probability-of-intercept mode. The Special Operations Forces Supply Activity facility in Richmond, Ky., is performing the modifications on new UH-60Ms.

Sikorsky is making no comments and refers all questions about the helicopters used in the bin Laden operation to U.S. Special Operations Command.

The Elmira unit was originally dubbed the HawkWorks and formally known as the Rapid Prototyping and Military Derivatives Completion Center (RPMDCC). In 2006, the company broke ground on a new 100,000-sq.-ft. HawkWorks facility at Elmira, across the airfield from the larger Schweizer factory. It was announced that “Black Hawk derivative helicopters requiring customized configurations for a range of specialized missions will be manufactured at Sikorsky’s Connecticut facilities and then transported to the RPMDCC for completion.”

On Google Earth, the entire Elmira airport is covered by imagery dated April 2006 and one of Sikorsky’s facilities (built in 2006-07) is missing. The area within the airport perimeter has been blurred to the equivalent of multiple-meter resolution and a 200 X 40-yd. area on the main ramp has been overpainted. Most Google Earth imagery is 1-3 years old.

Read our Ares weblog post for more discussion, reader comments and multiple images from Google Earth: Spook Central: Stealth Helo HQ?


UH-60M Photo: Sikorsky

16-05-11, 12:48 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Russia eyes high-speed helicopters

By Vladimir Karnozov

Russia looks set to join Eurocopter and Sikorsky in the race to commercialise a high-speed helicopter, with the allocation of Rb3.6billion ($1.3 billion) in government cash to support development of concepts by Russian Helicopters' Kamov and Mil design bureaux.

Ultimately, only one of the two designs will proceed. Deputy minister for industry and trade Denis Manturov described the Rb400 million allocated for 2011 - to be followed by Rb700 million in 2012 and Rb2.5 billion in 2013 - as "a moderate sum", and added: "Work is only picking up and at this stage the industry simply could not do more than its capacities allow."

Kamov's Ka-92 concept echoes Sikorsky's X2, with counter-rotating main rotors and a single rear-mounted pusher prop. With X2, Sikorsky has surpassed 250kt (460km/h) in testing and aims to demonstrate good low-speed handling and efficient hovering.

© Vladimir Karnozov

Mil's Mi-X1 takes a different tack, with a single main rotor and pusher prop with steering vane. This design offers an interesting blend of the X2 or Ka-92 approach and Eurocopter's X3 hybrid concept which features a single main rotor and twin pushers mounted laterally on short wings that provide some lift in forward flight.

© Vladimir Karnozov

Eurocopter, which has since September 2010 been flying an X3 built around off-the-shelf components including a Dauphin 365 airframe, promises less speed than Sikorsky - but isn’t far off, having just achieved 232kts in sustained, level flight - but insisted its design will be more cost-effective. Critically, said Eurocopter, main rotors are high-drag and counter-rotating designs are thus inefficient as well as mechanically complex. But with X3, the lateral wings provide some lift so the main rotor - which needs provide no forward thrust because the aircraft flies level - can be slowed in cruise mode, reducing drag.

Rotor drag is just one reason why conventional helicopters cannot fly faster than about 180kts by simply applying more engine power to turn their blades more quickly. The combination of high rotor speeds and high forward air speed can make the blade tips go supersonic, particularly during the forward part of their sweep.

However, the critical problem is so-called retreating blade stall. In forward flight, a rotor blade's relative air speed is higher when sweeping forward than when sweeping rearward. Thus, each blade's angle of attack must be flatter on the way forward and steeper when retreating, so that blades on either side of centre provide equal lift. As helicopter air speed rises, this differential is exacerbated until such point as the retreating blades reach a stall angle of attack - and the helicopter becomes unstable.

Hence the attraction of counter-rotating blades; on each rotor, one blade is always moving forward on each side, so the angle of attack of retreating blades need not be raised to balance the lift. As a counter-rotating design, X2 enjoys this inherent advantage, but reducing blade tip speed has also been a significant achievement by Sikorsky engineers.

If the Mi-X1 can fly level, its single main rotor would, also, not have to provide any forward thrust and thus run slower than would be the case for a conventional helicopter in forward flight. However, without the added lift advantage enjoyed by Eurocopter thanks to X3's short fixed wings, Mil's designers face an interesting development challenge to keep rotor speed low enough.

16-05-11, 03:36 PM
AgustaWestland and the European Defence Agency Launch Synthetic Helicopter Tactics Course

14:10 GMT, May 13, 2011

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that it has signed a contract with the European Defence Agency for the provision of an Interim Helicopter Tactics Training Service. In this Category B EDA programme the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom (the contributing Member States) have formally agreed to collaborate in the procurement of this training service. The training will help prepare contributing Member States’ helicopter crews for joint deployment on allied military operations at the same time as they develop their own indigenous tactics training capabilities. AgustaWestland had been awarded a first contract by EDA in 2008 to conduct a feasibility study into Helicopter Tactics Programme (HTP) for nations deploying on multinational operations and a second contract in 2009 for a HTP Implementation Study.

The first course of the latest contract will be delivered this year, with a total of 20 courses delivered over the following two years, at a dedicated facility in the Empire Test Pilots’ School at MoD Boscombe Down, United Kingdom. This innovative training applies the latest developments in gaming technology to deliver a high fidelity virtual environment for helicopter crew mission training. The founding principle is to deliver whole crew training based on recent operational experience, which has underlined the key part played by every crew-member in delivering operational effect. The training equipment provides student stations for the pilot, navigator, engineer and the rear crew, and also includes the provision of a cabin door gun. The synthetic environment is based on VBS2, which provides a high fidelity representation of the operational environment while allowing for distributed simulation. Therefore, the simulators can be reconfigured to provide a highly representative training environment for crews operating the AW109, Mi-171 and other helicopter types. The training system will provide individual, joint, collective and coalition training for contributing member states’ helicopter crews in a common synthetic environment. Courses will run for three weeks and include theory lectures and the practical application of the tactics, techniques and procedures, distilled from current and past operations. The course is designed to provide a common understanding of the mission tactics required to be successful in current operations. It can also be adapted to meet individual and specific national requirements.

John Ponsonby, Senior Vice President Training, AgustaWestland said, “We are both delighted and honored to be part of this multinational programme, supporting coalition helicopter crews in their pre-deployment training for operations. As part of this unique provision, AgustaWestland has combined the latest training technology with experienced instructors, in order to deliver a training service that is highly credible, yet flexible enough to meet the needs of all national training requirements.” Andy Gray, Helicopter Project Officer at the EDA said “This is a prime example of pooling and sharing in action. The collaboration between these six nations has significantly reduced cost and de-risked future national programmes, whilst still delivering high value and tangible benefits. It is an exemplar for future multinational initiatives.“ AgustaWestland is a provider of professional training services to a wide range of military, commercial and industrial customers around the world. Operators are assured of receiving highly effective training solutions, designed to meet their requirements to achieve high levels of individual, team and collective performance and to enable customers to fully exploit AgustaWestland's high capability aircraft by integrated learning environments. AgustaWestland is committed to offering the best training services as essential enablers in the delivery of mission capability to operators. The "A. Marchetti" Training Academy in Italy and Training Academies located in Philadelphia, USA, and in Yeovil, UK, utilise the latest e-learning, part-task maintenance and procedures trainers through to full mission and state-of-the-art Level D flight and mission simulators.

16-05-11, 03:51 PM
The Eurocopter X3 Hybrid Helicopter Exceeds Its Speed Challenge: 232 Knots (430 km/h) Is Attained In Level, Stabilized Flight

(Source: Eurocopter; issued May 16, 2011)

MARIGNANE, France --- Eurocopter’s X3 hybrid helicopter demonstrator has delivered on the promise of pushing the frontiers in rotary-wing aviation by surpassing its original speed target of 220 kts, demonstrating the compound aircraft’s performance, capabilities and maturity.

The X3’s speed milestone was reached on May 12 during stable, level flight – with the hybrid demonstrator maintaining a true airspeed of 232 kts. (430 km./hr.) for several minutes. This occurred during only the third mission after a scheduled upgrade that integrated the X3’s definitive gearboxes, enabling it to operate at full power.

“Eurocopter’s teams have once again shown their ability to apply innovation as a cornerstone of our strategy in remaining the helicopter industry leader,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s President & CEO. “Future helicopters incorporating the X3 configuration will offer our customers about 50 percent more cruise speed and range at very affordable costs, therefore defining the future of high productivity rotary-wing aircraft.”

Aboard the aircraft were Eurocopter test pilot Hervé Jammayrac and flight test engineer Daniel Semioli “We were impressed by the ease at which this speed objective was attained,” Jammayrac explained. “The X3 handles extremely well, demonstrating remarkable stability at high speed – even with the autopilot off. We are very proud of this achievement, which results from the dedicated efforts of all those who have worked on the project.”

Eurocopter began X3 flight testing last September in a program that combines the excellent vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter with aircraft-type fast cruise speeds of more than 220 kts. After the X3 achieved the initial true airspeed goal of 180 kts. (333 km./hr.) in November at a reduced level of engine power, the X3 underwent its planned gearbox upgrade and safety inspection.

Since returning to flight last week, the X3 quickly demonstrated its performance at full engine power, including impressive climb and descent rates, as well as excellent maneuverability, while also confirming the hybrid propulsion system’s outstanding capabilities for acceleration and deceleration.

In the test program to date, the X3’s basic handling characteristics and stability have been validated throughout the aircraft’s flight envelope without the need of a stability augmentation system, which has been confirmed in testing performed with the autopilot disengaged and engaged. In addition, the hybrid aircraft has low vibration levels without the use of passive or active anti-vibration systems, providing flight characteristics comparable to those of the best traditional design helicopters currently in service.

The X3 utilizes a Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter airframe equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers which are installed on short-span fixed wings. This hybrid configuration creates an advanced transportation system offering the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter.

The company envisions a wide range of utilizations for this concept, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR) missions, coast guard duties, border patrol missions, passenger transport, offshore operations and inter-city shuttle services. It also could be well-tailored 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.

Flight testing of the X3 is being performed from the DGA Flight Test Center in Istres, France. The flight test program will continue throughout 2011 to explore the hybrid helicopter’s full flight envelope and evaluate all of the possibilities offered by this new technology.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of 4.8 billion Euros, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.


18-05-11, 03:26 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Russia details plan to buy 1,000 military helicopters

By Vladimir Karnozov

Russia's defence ministry will buy more than 1,000 new military rotorcraft by the end of this decade, according to Dmitry Petrov, general director of the Russian Helicopters industry group.

While he declined to give an exact number, Petrov says a production plan for the "immediate future" has been accepted by the customer in accordance with Moscow's State Armament Programme 2020.

The agreement calls for "a little over" 100 military helicopter deliveries this year, with the rate to proceed at between 120 and 160 aircraft annually in the coming years, Petrov says. While not all of the expected sales have been turned into firm contracts yet, the defence ministry is expected to finalise several more "quasi-firm" orders later this year.

Following calls from its suppliers, the ministry has moved away from its standard practice of awarding one-year contracts. Instead, it will make long-term agreements with five final assembly plants, in Arseniev, Kazan, Kumertau, Rostov-on-Don and Ulan-Ude. The first such deal, made with the Rostvertol plant in Rostov-on-Don, was recently signed linked to the Mi-26, Mi-28N and Mi-35M.

According to Petrov, a new helicopter will be available for the Russian navy in 2017-18, with Kamov having already received the required specifications. The same design house will produce "navalised" versions of its Ka-52 reconnaissance and attack and Ka-226 utility helicopters for the service as an interim measure.

Moscow has also allocated funding to develop a Mi-171A2 transport, which Petrov says should obtain certification in 2014. It will also support the use of the Mi-34S1 to support the development of technologies for unmanned helicopters.

19-05-11, 10:42 AM
IMDEX 2011: Wildcat pushing for South-East Asia upgrades

May 19, 2011

UKTI Defence & Security Organisation (DSO) is 'in discussions' with various South-East Asian militaries to upgrade their Lynx helicopters for the maritime environment, according to a senior official.

Speaking to Shephard at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) in Singapore, Keith Smith, UKTI DSO Regional Director East described how a number of Lynx-operating nations were 'seriously' considering such upgrades particularly in the realm of anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

Referring to the 33 AgustaWestland Lynx helicopters currently being operated in the region, Smith said: 'There is the potential to re-role these helicopters for different uses and quite a few Lynx operators in the region are seriously looking at the evolution of Lynx and Wildcat and ASW.

'Merlin ASW is a capable and very attractive, new generation, six-ton military helicopter and Wildcat is unique in that it will be used by the [British] army and [Royal] navy and all will be “marinised”,' he continued.

Existing Lynx users in the region include the Republic of Korea Navy which has 12 Super Lynx Mk 99 and 13 Super Lynx Mk 99A aircraft; the Royal Malaysian Navy which has six Super Lynx Mk 100s; and the Royal Thai Navy with two Super Lynx 300s.

'Discussions are ongoing but I cannot comment further,' Smith added. 'The UK is committed to 62 airframes so potentially, it would be very attractive for other nations to piggy back on the back of that.

'All potential deals are bespoke. Economics and throughlife costs savings are common throughout. I see a scenario where quite a small number of platforms generate a long term pattern of benefit for the local economy. To be able to maintain and operate [helicopter assets] under their own steam, there has to be a certain degree of technology transfer,' he said.

Andrew White, Singapore

20-05-11, 07:15 PM
Another Stealth Chopper in the Osama Raid?

By David Axe May 20, 2011 | 10:31 am

We'll be having the Starship Enterprise next...................:wave

By now we know that the two helicopters that deposited the 23 U.S. operatives (and their dog) into Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 were no standard-issue Army rotorcraft. Rather, they were stealth modifications of the MH-60 Blackhawk, optimized to reduce their noise, infrared and radar signatures.

But there’s a growing belief that other stealthy choppers might have been present, as well. It’s the latest in a series of revelations regarding the sophisticated tactics and techs behind the high-stakes raid.

We know about the pair of radar-evading Blackhawks because one of the elusive birds — dubbed “Silenthawks” by the media — crashed inside the bin Laden compound, leaving behind an intact tail rotor that photographers documented the following morning and aviation geeks used to infer the aircraft’s overall configuration.

That crash, plus the dicey politics surrounding the CIA-led assault, offer up circumstantial evidence of an even more secretive “silent” helicopter: a possible variant of the twin-rotor MH-47 Chinook, sporting the same stealth treatments as the Silenthawk and operated by the same 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

As he did with the Silenthawk, aviation journalist David Cenciotti commissioned artist Ugo Crisponi to produce concept art depicting this alleged copter. (See artwork, above.)

Early reporting, including our own, proposed that Chinooks likely participated in the raid, for purely mathematical reasons. Twenty-four Navy SEALs and one dog would max out the capacity of a pair of H-60s. A single H-47, never mind two, could carry the whole assault force with room to spare.

That assumption was challenged on May 3, when CIA chief Leon Panetta said the assault birds were definitely “Blackhawks.” The same day, the photographic evidence surfaced of those choppers’ special mods. From that, observers concluded that the operation was conducted without Pakistani approval, and indeed against their wishes, using H-60 helicopters capable of slipping past Islamabad’s radars.

That seemed to definitively rule out the big, loud, radar-reflecting Chinooks. “I don’t believe that ‘normal’ MH-47s were involved,” Cenciotti wrote on May 6, owing to “considerations on the stealthiness of the formation.”

Then, this week, off-the-record government sources told the Associated Press that three Chinooks indeed supported the Abbottabad operation, as a reserve force. The school-bus-sized aircraft — normally used to haul platoons in Afghanistan’s mountains — “land[ed] in a deserted area roughly two-thirds of the way to bin Laden’s compound.”

The reserve choppers carried two dozen reinforcement Navy SEALs, in case the original assault team needed rescuing. With room for around 40 troops in each craft, that left plenty of room for the back-up Chinooks to exfil the SEALs in the compound — a contingency that proved necessary when one of the Silenthawks went down.

Cenciotti connected the dots, from the need for stealthiness to the confirmed presence of H-47s. “I believe that there must be also a modified MH-47 flying with the 160 SOAR,” he concluded on May 18. “Unlike the Blackhawk, we have no photographic evidences of it, but I think that their existence is somehow confirmed…. ”

It’s plausible. Sikorsky, maker of the Blackhawk, surely had a hand — alongside the Army and Lockheed Martin — in producing the Silenthawk, perhaps relying on techniques it refined while developing the now-canceled RAH-66 Comanche stealth scout copter.

Boeing, which manufactures the Chinook, was Sikorsky’s partner on Comanche, and has since used that chopper’s heat-absorbing paint on its own V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

That said, the stealthy Chinook is by no means a certainty. It’s possible that the reserve force, trailing behind the attackers, had less need for stealth while approaching Abbottabad. But considering the cascade of amazing tech that has emerged from the hit on bin Laden, a radar-evading heavylift chopper would hardly defy belief.

Illo: David Cenciotti’s Weblog

14-06-11, 02:40 PM
KAI and Eurocopter to jointly sell the Surion

June 14, 2011

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter have established an export company to promote export sales of the KAI-built Surion helicopter.

The joint venture, KAI-EC Surion Export Company, was established in February and has a majority stake (51%) held by KAI while the remainder is held by Eurocopter.

The organisation believes that the partnership with Eurocopter will give the aircraft the best opportunity of gaining entry into the market, which KAI says has 'high barriers to entry'.

The JV will also take advantage of the marketing infrastructure and expertise established by Eurocopter.

Using Eurocopter's market outlook, the joint venture believes it secure an export market for as many as 400 Surion helicopters. The type will be competing alongside the AW149 and the UH-60M for export customers.

The 8.7 ton Surion was designed by KAI in co-operation with Eurocopter and has been developed to replace the existing utility helicopters in the South Korean Army fleet including UH-1Hs and MD500s. The Surions will be tasked with troop assault, search and rescue, tactical lift, liaison and medical evacuation operations and other missions.

The first flight was carried out in March 2010 and the South Korean government has since given the green light for production to begin in September 2012, with the first deliveries expected in 2013.

Tony Osborne, London

17-06-11, 05:10 AM
Future Rotorcraft 2011: Vertical lift aviation ‘reaches a tipping point'

June 16, 2011

The US Department of Defense's funding model is out of balance and needs to recognise the key role of the rotorcraft in current conflicts, according to a key industry figure.

Speaking at the Future Rotorcraft conference in London on 15 June, Philip Dunford, vice president, general manager and operating executive for Boeing Military Aircraft, argued that the US had reached a ‘tipping point' for vertical lift aviation and that funding needed to be allocated to those platforms that were currently of most value to the warfighter.

‘Let's balance the funding correctly for the relevance of the product. The way we fight wars has changed - it is really the helicopters that are getting in there and doing the dirty work. The balance is wrong in terms of how we fund things going forward,' Dunford said.

Dunford highlighted a gap in rotorcraft production from the end of current programmes to the onset of the Joint Multirole (JMR) project, which is not expected to reach the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase until 2030.

‘As we move to the right in terms of time we are going to cut deliveries from a peak in 2012 and 2013 of about 300 deliveries per year down to half of that. If this pans out the way we think it will, Sikorsky will have two products, the CH-53K and the UH-60M, Boeing will have Apache and I'm not sure what else there will be,' Dunford said.

‘So the question is what happens to the industry? What happens to the engineering base? What do we do in the meantime? The JMR is the next thing we all have to focus on. In my opinion JMR is taking too long - we need to somehow accelerate it.'

Dunford outlined the fact that rotorcraft investment in the US was currently 17% of the total investment available compared to the 83% allocated to the fixed wing world; more money will be spent on the Joint Strike Fighter programme than all of the helicopters over the last 50 years.

In terms of the development and production cost of a platform, the fixed wing aircraft involved in the current conflicts averaged $181,000 per combat flight hour (for a total of 2.56 million flight hours flown) compared to rotorcraft which cost $53,000 per combat flight hour (3.02 million hours).

‘In the days of the Cold War, which is where this funding model comes from, this was about right but the way we do things has changed. There will continue to be more helicopter flight hours as we go on than fixed wing just because of the environment in which we are fighting,' Dunford argued.

‘We have reached a tipping point for vertical lift aviation. Things are changing, the customer in the United States and the OEMs are talking about what we need to do. The question is whether it is happening quickly enough and it is going to be dependent on pulling a plan together and it is going to depend on funding.'

Tony Skinner, London

20-06-11, 11:21 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

PARIS: S-70i Black Hawk makes first appearance

By Craig Hoyle

Its lines may be familiar, but the Sikorsky Black Hawk transport helicopter that is making its major show debut in the static park this week represents a new standard for export operators.

Dubbed the S-70i, the aircraft is one of only six Polish-built examples of the Black Hawk to have been completed and flown so far by Sikorsky subsidiary PZL Mielec as part of a $100 million-plus investment in the firm.

First flown in Poland last November, the new version is assembled at the company's Mielec site, where it is ramping up its production. Fifteen of the helicopters will be delivered next year and 22 in 2013, Sikorsky said.

© Billypix

"In a relatively short span of time, the team has taken ownership of its mission: to produce, flight test and ultimately deliver the international variant of the world's most battle-proven helicopter," said PZL Mielec chief executive Janusz Zakrecki.

"The S-70i provides excellent value for international operators who want a reliable airframe, powerful engines and digital avionics for today's missions," said Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky Military Systems.

20-06-11, 05:50 PM
PAS 2011: AgustaWestland looks to energy market with new AW189

June 20, 2011

The AW189..............more info at link below:


AgustaWestland is hoping to snatch away some of the market share from the EC175 with the latest member of its family, revealed at the Paris Air Show on 20 June.

The AW189 is essentially a civil version of the company's AW149 military utility helicopter. The eight-tonne aircraft is being aimed at the oil and energy support sector as well as SAR and, because the aircraft is a spin-off of the 149, the company says it could be operating off platforms by 2014.

AW149 early flying prototype..............

Bruno Spagnolini, the newly appointed CEO of AgustaWestland, said he was confident that the aircraft would prove a 'challenger' in the global helicopter market.

'The AW139 and the AW189 are two very different aircraft but they both share the same general concept in architecture,' Spagnolini said.

The company would not discuss the price of the aircraft. The 189 will be built in Italy, and although the company says it has not decided whether the 189 and 149 will be built on the same production line, it has not ruled this out. It was pointed out that heavily-customised military AW149s might have to be built separately.

Roberto Garavaglia, SVP of marketing at AgustaWestland, said the aircraft would appeal to oil and gas operators flying 'thinner' routes.

'What we are finding is that some 19 seat helicopters are being operated because of their range capability not necessarily their passenger carrying abilities.The AW189 will be able to take 12 passengers 200 miles offshore and carry the fuel to return, if necessary.'

The aircraft will be powered by a pair of GE CT7-2E1s and AgustaWestland plans to 'meet or exceed' EASA and FAA requirements - the type's gear box will feature a 30 min 'dry-run' capability. The company also says that the windscreen has been reinforced and some cockpit controls have been positioned to 'mitigate the consequences of a birdstrike'.

Seating arrangements have been designed so there is no need for more than two passengers to use one emergency exit. The AW189 has been designed to be stable after ditching in conditions up to sea state six.

The glass cockpit will feature four large 8'x10' displays, and the company is offering the synthetic vision system available on the Grand New.

Standard aircraft come with 16 seats, although up to 18 can be carried in a high density configuration.

Tony Osborne, Paris

20-06-11, 05:58 PM
PAS 2011: AW139 has 'changed' AgustaWestland's behaviour

June 20, 2011

A lot of time for AW now that it is led by Augusta, and this growth of models from a sound original design is the way to go................

The success of the AW139 utility helicopter has 'changed' the behaviour of the manufacturer, according its new CEO.

Speaking at the launch of the company's new eight-tonne helicopter, the AW189, Bruno Spagnolini, who recently took over from Giuseppe Orsi, said that ever since the launch of the AW139 in 1999, the company had completely adjusted its course.

'It has changed our behaviour as a company,' said Spagnolini. 'We are now a world class manufacturer, proven by the fact we are able to have challengers in the global helicopter market.'

The AW139 has proved to be a big success for AgustaWestland with orders of the type representing some 9.5% of the company's revenue in 2010.

The aircraft was developed in conjunction with Bell, but the US company pulled out in the run up to the US Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) competition. Bell still earns some royalties from AW139 sales, but AgustaWestland have developed the aircraft further with specialist SAR variants and a military version being prepared to meet the needs of the US Air Force's CVLSP requirement.

The extended fuselage military variant, the AW149, and now the AW189 all stem from the AW139.

As Spagnolini said: 'The AW139 and the AW189 are two very different aircraft but they both share the same general concept in architecture.'

Some 530 AW139s have been ordered, and 400 have been built; the 400th aircraft, a Qatar Emiri Air Force example - one of 18 being built for that air arm - is on display at the Paris Air Show, while the second prototype AW149 is taking part in the flying display.

The company is currently building 90 AW139s a year from its production lines in the US and in Italy, but this number is set to rise to 100 in 2012.

Tony Osborne, Paris

21-06-11, 01:35 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

PARIS: Sikorsky advances optionally manned, voice control features for FBW helicopters

By John Croft

By the end of this year Sikorsky hopes to demonstrate an optionally piloted resupply mission using a fly-by-wire UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter platform it plans to loan from the US Army.

Sikorsky president Jeff Pino said the Sikorsky-built automatic flight control augmentation system, packaged in an electronics box roughly 0.3m x 0.6m (1ft x 2ft) in size, has already been validated and he has personally tested the system in a simulator.

"By the end of the year, we hope to fly an autonomous resupply mission," said Pino. "The helicopter will land, and two pilots will get in and fly any other mission the Black Hawk can do."

The army is considering a FBW upgrade for its UH-60M fleet, that would provide the backbone needed to host the advanced control system, which among other features would allow for hands-off landings or reduced crew options. Sikorsky has proposed an optionally manned architecture in which operators can select either zero, one and two pilots.

Pino hightlighted the importance of FBW to such advanced functionality, saying that the feature will likely be standard on every helicopter the company develops going forward.

Along with the X2 demonstrator, Sikorsky's new CH-53K has FBW controls, along with its Canadian maritime version of the S-92, the CH-148 Cyclone. "I can't imagine another new start where we don't put in FBW," said Pino.

He added that the FBW-enabled flight control laws on the CH-53K "takes stress and strain and complexity out of the cockpit".

Pino added that pilots can enable the automatic mode by "upshifting" a lever similar to a gear shifter in a car, an action he said will eventually be voice activated.

21-06-11, 07:07 AM
AgustaWestland: Next FMS Deals in Iraq, Gulf

Posted by Bradley Peniston | June 19th, 2011 | Paris Air Show 2011

By TOM KINGTON • PARIS — After winning a contract to sell its AW139 helicopter to Egypt through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, Italy’s AgustaWestland is predicting further FMS deals in Iraq and the Gulf, said CEO Bruno Spagnolini.

“The likely models would be the AW139 and the AW109,” said Spagnolini, who has just taken over at the firm after former CEO Giuseppe Orsi was promoted to take over at parent company Finmeccanica.

Speaking on the eve of the Paris Air Show, Spagnolini said that FMS deals had become “very important” for AgustaWestland, which assembles the AW139 at a facility in Philadelphia and numbers the U.S. Department of Homeland Security among customers.

“To be in the FMS program is recognition of the U.S. content in the helicopter, the U.S. assembly and the fact it is operated by the U.S.,” said Spagnolini.

In May, the firm said it had been awarded a $37.8 million contract with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) Contracting Center to sell two AW139s for search and rescue missions to the Egyptian Air Force.

AgustaWestland is meanwhile considering offering either the AW139 or the new AW149 as candidates for the U.S. Air Force’s Common Vertical Lift Support Program, said Spagnolini.

“We expect an RFP by year’s end and a 2012 selection,” he said. “Both types would be built in Philadelphia.”

The firm is planning to unveil a new model at the Paris Air Show. The 8-ton-class commercial AW189 will be aimed at the offshore and search-and-rescue market. Spagnolini said the program had benefitted from “the spillover” from the AW149 developed to satisfy requirements from the Italian armed forces.

“It will be perfect for a search and rescue role in the UK,” he said.

21-06-11, 10:57 AM
PAS 2011: BAE Systems completes BLAST testing

June 21, 2011

BAE Systems has added its voice to the myriad of companies offering terrain awareness products that aim to mitigate the effects of helicopter brownout.

Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Paul Cooke, defence avionics' director of business development, said the company had recently completed testing of its Brownout Landing Aid System Technology (BLAST) system at the Yuma Proving Ground.

The company is now preparing a final report for the Department of Defense (DoD) on the performance of the system, which is expected to be submitted by the end of the month.

While no central DoD office is currently charged with the issue of brownout - unlike the approach taken with improvised explosive devices, for example - with the problem still claiming lives in Afghanistan, several companies have been developing terrain awareness systems that address the problem.

Cooke said that BAE's solution features the integration of a low-cost, lightweight 94GHz sensor with monopulse processing. The system can provide a 3D or top-down view of a landing site, with the image provided as a 'heads down' LCD multifunction display or via the company's Q-Sight helmet mounted display.

'There are a lot of competing technologies and solutions out there and we are really waiting to see which way the DoD decides to go,' Cooke said. 'We think we have a pretty compelling solution; the system is in production now and we are hoping to get it into service.'

Meanwhile, the company is also moving ahead with the latest version of its Q-Sight helmet mounted display. Cooke said the company was hoping to complete safety of flight qualifications of the newest iteration of the system by the end of the month.'

Q-Sight clips onto current flight helmets and projects flight, mission and targeting information to the user through company-patented holographic technology.

Although primarily designed with for the flying crew, Q-Sight was adapted by BAE Systems for the gunner's role for the Royal Navy, where it will be issued to Lynx Mk8 helicopter door gunners.

Tony Skinner, Paris

21-06-11, 10:58 AM
PAS 2011: Northrop Grumman pitches survivability upgrade

June 21, 2011

Northrop Grumman is developing a software upgrade to its APR-39 radar warning receiver as part of its Rotorcraft Avionics Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) initiative.

In order to connect systems such as the radar warning, cockpit displays, off-boarding information and mission computers, the RAIL suite was created to provide one common interface for all the systems onboard a helicopter, according to Jeff Palombo, VP and general manager of Northrop Grumman Land and Self Protection Systems Division, at the 2011 Paris Air Show.

The APR-39 receiver is the central element of the RAIL. Palombo said: ' is literally on every rotary-wing platform that's out there for the US and also for our allies.

'It acts as our suite controller for this demonstration. So all the things we talk about today are ran with the APR-39 as the heart of the system, with software packages that have been integrated onto the APR-39 and tied into these other systems without making hardware changes.'

Due to the extensive helicopter use in Iraq, Afghanistan and other theatres, the risk to rotary personnel is high, and a system that makes pilot's jobs easier and lessens the risk is deemed valuable. This, plus expensive platform-specific integration and test cycles, has led to the company developing the RAIL system.

In order to get the most out of existing systems, Northrop Grumman developed RAIL along with companies such as Goodrich, BAE Systems, ATK, Rockwell Collins and Harris Corporation, to provide an open architecture that integrates the various survivability equipment on the aircraft.

Palombo emphasised the need for technology from different companies to be integrated in order to get the best platforms and advancements for the pilot, pointing out that the customer does not want to be connected with, and put all its efforts into, just one industry product.

[I] Beth Stevenson, Paris

21-06-11, 08:07 PM
PAS 2011: Civil tiltrotor transfers into AgustaWestland ownership

June 21, 2011

Bell and AgustaWestland have finally agreed a deal putting full control of the BA609 civil tiltrotor into the Italian company's hands.

Under the deal, the BA609 becomes the AW609, while Bell becomes a sub-contractor building components such as blades and a key supplier of engineering services.

Bell president and CEO, John Garrison, was keen to point out that the transfer of technology to AgustaWestland would not involve that associated with the military V-22, but did say the sale of the civil tilt-rotor would benefit the Osprey project.

'This decision will free up research and development resources allowing Bell to increase our investment in the Bell-Boeing V-22,' he said. He also said it would also allow further investment in Bell's commercial product line.

Bruno Spagnolini, the new CEO of AgustaWestland, said the AW609 was a 'perfect fit' into AgustaWestland's product line and outlined plans for certification and qualification of the aircraft by the end of 2015, with the aircraft entering the market in 2016.

Two 609s are currently flying: AC1 in the US and AC2 in Italy. AC1 will remain in the US flying from a base in Arlington, Texas, where it will be used in the FAA certification flying. AC2 will remain in Italy where it will be joined by the other two prototypes, AC3 and AC4.

Once finished, AC3 will be used to test and certify the aircraft's anti-icing system while AC4 will be used to test the type's avionics system. So far the combined 609 fleet has completed 584 flight hours, between AC1 and AC2.

The company says that signed contracts and agreements made for the 609 are still valid and that there remains significant interest in the type from commercial and parapublic operators.

Later this year, Bell's XworX advanced technology division will be borrowing an MV-22 from the US Marine Corps (USMC) to use as a technology demonstrator to test new systems for possible future versions of the aircraft.

One particular key area will be to test improvements in engines and engine air particle separation systems (EAPS) both of which have suffered from the reliability issues in the challenging environment of Afghanistan where the Ospreys from both the USMC and US Air Force are currently deployed.

AgustaWestland has also revealed that it has received the first orders for the AW169. Four prototypes will be used in the AW169's development and the first flight is expected in mid-2012 with certification due in 2014.

The company's ICH-47F deal to build Chinooks for the Italian Army is also 'on-track' with the first flight of the first aircraft expected at the end of 2012. The contract is for 16 aircraft plus options for four more examples.

Tony Osborne, Paris

23-06-11, 02:28 AM
PAS 2011: Elbit partners on next-generation helicopter project

June 22, 2011

Elbit Systems has provided its CockpitNG to a major helicopter OEM as part of a joint research and development (R&D) project for a next-generation helicopter.

At the Paris Air Show the company displayed the fully-developed version of the CockpitNG, which features a large touch-screen, central display that provides all avionic components in one suite.

Speaking to Shephard, Reuven Alon, VP for marketing and business development at Elbit Systems, revealed that the company had delivered one system to the OEM for integration onto the helicopter.

‘It is a joint R&D programme in order to evaluate this powerful technology for use on a next-generation helicopter,' Alon said.

While he would not confirm which helicopter OEM was involved in the project, Alon added that a second system had also been provided to a major fighter aircraft manufacturer for evaluation.

The CockpitNG features a 22" high definition display that displays the same information provided by five standard 6"x8" displays seen on current glass cockpit configurations.

The display is fully integrated with helmet-mounted and heads-up displays, and employs ‘i-phone-like' click-and-drag touch-screen technology.

Alon said the modular solution helped to reduce aircrew workload and could be tailored to multiple platforms.

The company is also highlighting its Embedded Virtual Avionics (EVA) technology, which uses synthetic data displayed directly onto its Targo helmet to allow new pilots to be trained on various mission scenarios.

Meanwhile, the company used the air show to announce it had been awarded a $15 million to supply its ELT/572 directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system to the Italian Air Force.

Delivered over the next three years, the systems, which is based on Elbit's MUSIC system, will be installed on AW101, C-130J and C-27J aircraft.

Tony Skinner, Paris

23-06-11, 06:09 PM
Construction Begins on U.S. Marines’ Next Heavy-Lift Helo

Posted by Bradley Peniston | June 23rd, 2011 | Paris Air Show 2011

Artist's conception of two U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K helicopters, sling-loaded with two Humvees apiece, refueling from a KC-130 tanker / U.S. Navy image

By BRADLEY PENISTON • PARIS — The first ground-test model of the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter is under construction, and the U.S. Navy effort is on track for first flight in 2014, a production decision in 2015, and initial operation in 2018, program officials said June 21.

Lead contractor Sikorsky, now under contract for the test vehicle and four aircraft, is currently negotiating the first low-rate initial production deal, said Sikorsky’s Dave Zack.

That schedule reflects last year’s decision to delay first flight by two years and IOC by three.

The centerpiece of the new variant is raw power: three GE38 turbine engines will develop 7,500 shaft horsepower, up from the 4,300 of the current CH-53E model. Test units had run for 444 hours through March, according to Navy briefing slides.

The new power plants will allow the K model to roughly double the payload of existing 53s, lofting 27,000 pounds 110 nautical miles.

The customer is the U.S. Marine Corps, which plans to buy 200 Ks to replace and then enlarge its heavy-lift fleet, said Marine Col. Robert Pridgen.

As for the U.S. Navy, which currently operates its own -53s for logistics work?

“The Navy has not decided on heavy lift,” Pridgen said.

24-06-11, 03:57 AM
PAS 2011: X3 put through its paces in Paris

June 23, 2011

Eurocopter's high-speed hybrid helicopter has been strutting its stuff in front of the crowds at the Paris Air Show.

While the X3 features an unfamiliar sound and an even more unfamiliar silhouette in the skies over the Le Bourget, the pressure is on test pilot Hervé Jammayrac and flight test engineer Daniel Semioli to produce a display that presents the machine's capabilities to the crowds.

'We carried out three flights to develop the display for Paris,' said Semoli, 'but it's impressive to think that we are displaying at Paris and we only flown 33 flight hours on the aircraft.'

The X3 is being operated from the Heliport in the north-eastern corner of Le Bourget airport, from there, the aircraft goes straight into its display with a fast run.

'By the time you see us at the end of the runway, we are already at 200 kts,' said Jammayrac, 'and when we are our vertical climb, the climb rate is 10,000 feet per minute - the performance is very impressive.'

Of the 33 hours flown so far, the longest flight was the two-hour long ferry flight from the Eurocopter plant at Marignane to Le Bourget, which was flown at 200 kts.

'As we entered the VFR heli-lanes around Paris we realised that 180 kts was too quick,' said Semoli, 'we could not keep up with the radio calls as the distance between the reporting points was so short at that speed.'

The X3 has completed and exceeded its speed targets reaching a speed of 232 kts on 12 May. Semoli and Jammayrac feel the aircraft still has the potential to go faster, perhaps as fast as 250 kts.

'When the aircraft was in for layup, they tweaked the gearbox,' said Jammayrac, 'that gave us 25% more power to use; we have not used all of that yet.'

Until the show, all X3 flying was being performed in a test area at Istres, west of Marseille, where the aircraft could be monitored in flight. Even with the aircraft in Paris, the monitoring continues with engineers on the ground looking at the telemetry being fed back to a ground station in the back of a small van at Le Bourget.

Tony Osborne, Paris

24-06-11, 03:13 PM
Eurocopter’s Upgraded Puma Mk2 Helicopter for the UK Royal Air Force Makes its First Flight

(Source: EADS; issued June 23, 2011)

Source / copyright : Eurocopter, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)

Read more: http://www.asdnews.com/image/36434/Eurocopter_s_Upgraded_Puma_Mk2_Helicopter_for_UK_R AF_Makes_1st_Flight.htm#ixzz1QCNrq2zw

The first upgraded Puma Mk2 helicopter developed by Eurocopter in a life extension programme for the UK’s Royal Air Force performed its initial flight this week from Eurocopter’s facility at Marignane, France.

It is the first helicopter to be modified under the Puma Life Extension Programme, which was approved by the UK Ministry of Defence in September 2009 and placed on contract with Eurocopter UK.

This programme will extend the operational life of the Puma helicopter fleet and is to significantly enhance its capability – particularly in demanding hot and high conditions. It will improve the safety and performance by providing new engines, a digital flight control system, increased platform survivability and enhanced navigation and communications.

“The Puma Mk2’s first flight is an important milestone, marking the initial step in a test programme that will continue through the second half of 2011,” said Markus Steinke, the Managing Director of Eurocopter UK. “It also represents the achievement of a significant and successful effort focused on design, development and programme management by Eurocopter and Ministry of Defence teams in both the UK and France.”

Eurocopter-built Puma rotary-wing aircraft currently represent one third of the UK’s medium battlefield support helicopters. They are used as battlefield helicopters within the Joint Helicopter Command to provide tactical troop and load movement by day and night.

Puma Mk2s are planned to enter service with the Royal Air Force in 2012, and achieve full operating capability in 2014.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of 4.8 billion Euros, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.


25-06-11, 01:10 AM
BAE Offers Helicopter Brownout Solution

Posted by Bradley Peniston | June 24th, 2011 | Paris Air Show 2011

By DAVE MAJUMDAR • PARIS – BAE Systems is proposing a new millimeter wave radar-based imaging system for the U.S. Army’s nascent Brownout Landing Aid System Technology (BLAST) effort.

Brownouts are a phenomenon where particulate matter is kicked into the air in a desert or dusty environment by a helicopter’s rotors and obscures the pilot’s view of his surroundings when a helicopter is very near the ground, Brownouts can potentially lead to a crash.

Although one solution is increased training, the infusion of technology could greatly reduce the number of accidents, especially if both are done in tandem.

BLAST is an Army effort to do just that, said Mark Sadel, BAE Systems’ director of international business development.

“We’ve come up with BLAST, which is a capability to see though all obscurants,” Sadel said.

BAE’s solution uses very lightweight 94 GHz millimeter wave radar to create a synthetic image of the helicopter’s surrounding, which can then be fed into the pilot’s helmet to restore his situational awareness.

The development of small computers capable of generating massive processing power enabled the breakthrough, Sadel said. “That’s the secret,” he said.

The radar has enough processing power to image even moving contacts, he said.

Though the company has not studied the issue, the system also could have tactical applications, he said.

28-06-11, 05:17 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Sikorsky to explore unmanned role for Black Hawk

By John Croft

Sikorsky hopes to demonstrate an optionally piloted resupply mission using a fly-by-wire-equipped UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopter by the end of this year.

Jeff Pino, president of the Connecticut-based company, said the Sikorsky-built automatic flight-control augmentation system, which is packaged in an electronics box roughly 0.3 x 0.6m (1 x 2ft) in dimension, has already been validated. The flight demonstration is expected to use an aircraft loaned by the US Army.

"By the end of the year, we hope to fly an autonomous resupply mission," said Pino. "The helicopter will land, and two pilots will get in and fly any other mission the Black Hawk can do."

© US Army

The US Army is considering a FBW upgrade for its UH-60M fleet. This would provide the backbone needed to host the advanced control system, which among other features would allow for hands-off landings. Sikorsky has proposed an optionally manned architecture where operators can select either zero, one and two pilots.

Pino said fly-by-wire technology is likely to be a standard feature of every helicopter that Sikorsky develops going forward. Along with the X2 demonstrator, the new CH-53K has FBW controls, as does the CH-148 Cyclone maritime version of the S-92 on order for Canada. "I can't imagine another new start where we don't put in FBW," he said.

Describing a simulator session testing the CH-53K's FBW-enabled flight-control laws earlier this month, he said: "It will fly better than I will, always. It takes stress and strain and complexity out of the cockpit."

Pino said pilots can enable the automatic mode by "upshifting" a lever similar to a gear shifter in a car, an action he says will eventually be voice actuated.

Once in automatic mode, picking up a sling load has been made simple, with voice position commands from the ground easily being input into the flight-control system. Once coupled to the load, Pino said the system can automatically take the slack out of the sling.

11-07-11, 01:50 PM
Eaton’s work on Sikorsky X2 Technology demonstrator leads to development agreement on S-97 Raider

July 11, 2011

Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation congratulates Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. for receiving the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy, one of the aviation industry’s top honors, for the X2 Technology demonstrator team.

As a key component supplier for the award-winning aircraft, Eaton worked with Sikorsky’s team to provide an integrated pump package consisting of a hydraulic pump, reservoir and valves for the X2 Technology demonstrator. Eaton also provided technical guidance on the aircraft's hydraulic and fuel hoses and fittings.

The X2 Technology demonstrator is a next-generation aircraft designed to travel at twice the speed of traditional helicopters while retaining hover efficiency and low-speed handling qualities. Last September the aircraft successfully achieved 250 knots (287 mph) true air speed in level flight, setting an unofficial speed record for a helicopter and accomplishing the program’s ultimate speed milestone, according to a news release issued by Sikorsky.

“We believe Sikorsky’s award is truly in line with the intent of the Collier Trophy, which is to encourage the pursuit of excellence and achievement in aeronautic development,” said Bradley J. Morton, president of Eaton’s Aerospace Group. “We appreciated the opportunity to work with X2 Technology demonstrator team and congratulate Sikorsky on the vision, ingenuity and technical expertise that led to this tremendous honor.”

Based on the success of the X2 Technology™ demonstrator, Sikorsky has selected Eaton to serve on the S-97 Raider light tactical helicopter development program team, Sikorsky’s follow-on advancement to the X2. Eaton will provide fuel lines, pumps and hydraulic system components for two prototype aircraft in development, as well as hardware and associated engineering support.

In addition to the X2 and S-97, Eaton manufactures a broad range of components for a variety of Sikorsky helicopter platforms, including CH-53K, CH-148 Cyclone, S-92, S-76, and UH60L and UH60M Black Hawk and all derivative aircraft.

Source: Eaton

12-07-11, 04:15 PM
Korea Aerospace Chosen For Attack Helo

Jul 12, 2011

By Bradley Perrett

BEIJING — Korea Aerospace Industries will move ahead with preliminary development of South Korea’s proposed light attack helicopter, following the Defense Ministry’s decision to contract with the company for concept definition.

The work, estimated at 19.2 billion won ($18.2 million), reinforces Korea Aerospace’s position as the national rotary-wing specialist. The ministry rejected a competing bid from Korean Air Aerospace, the manufacturing division of the country’s largest airline. The move also increases the likelihood that South Korea will finally put the Korean Attack Helicopter (KAH) into production, with more than 200 units required.

Along the way, the program could create an important new civilian helicopter. With an eye on civil sales, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy has insisted that the aircraft have a cabin with six-eight seats, instead of the traditional skinny two-seat body that minimizes the weight and drag of an attack helicopter and maximizes its agility. The ministry is the government’s main economic coordinating agency, running an industry policy based on the Asian tradition of trying to pick winning projects.

One picture of a Korea Aerospace design study shows the KAH with a sensor turret and four missiles that look like Hellfires, two under each stub wing. The mission is close support.

Eurocopter, Korea Aerospace’s partner in developing the larger Surion utility helicopter, appears to be well-placed to take part in the KAH, too, especially if it thinks the 40-year-old Dauphin series should be replaced. With a gross weight of about 4.5 tons, the KAH would be comparable to the Dauphin, AgustaWestland Super Lynx and Bell AH-1 Cobra, but without the latter’s specialized attack configuration.

Concept definition of the KAH is planned to run until the end of 2012, at which time the government should decide whether to undertake full-scale development from 2013-18 at a cost estimated at 570.8 billion won. The cost of development, apparently including concept definition, was previously quoted at 700 billion won; it is unclear why the estimate has fallen, contrary to the usual trend in aerospace programs.

According to earlier estimates based on building 260 KAHs, production would cost 3 trillion won, which at current exchange rates works out to about $11 million per helicopter. The total program value is now forecast at about 12 trillion won, including running costs. The army’s official newspaper now states the required number as more than 200. It was once as high as 274.

Two years ago the concept-definition phase was supposed to begin in 2010 to support the Defense Ministry’s demand for the KAH to enter service in 2018 and begin to replace about 70 Cobras and 270 Hughes 500s. Since the ministry is still aiming to complete development in 2018, the schedule appears to have been compressed.

The current KAH has emerged from twice splitting what was originally a single huge helicopter development effort. At one point the aircraft was to be part of the Korean Multipurpose Helicopter program, with 477 units proposed. In 2005 that effort was reduced to focus on the Korean Utility Helicopter, now Surion, with the attack helicopter, expected to be a variant, left for later. In 2008 the attack requirement was itself split between heavy helicopters – almost certainly Boeing AH-64 Apaches that the army has wanted since the 1990s – and smaller rotorcraft that could be developed domestically under the KAH program. The KAH might still have been a fairly large aircraft had the ministry accepted proposals to adapt the Surion. The current proposal calls for a much smaller helicopter.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in April that it planned to order heavy attack helicopters by October 2012. The long-standing requirement is for 36 units.

Photo: Korea Aerospace

13-07-11, 12:15 PM
IAF mulls missile defense system for helicopters

By YAAKOV KATZ, Jersualem Post

07/12/2011 02:42

- Proposal comes in face of growing surface-to-air missile threat against IAF aircraft from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

Photo by: Courtesy: IDF

The air force is looking into installing an active protection system aboard its helicopters that would intercept enemy missiles, similar to a system recently proven in combat on IDF tanks.

The proposal comes in face of the growing surface-to-air missile threat against IAF aircraft from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

The requirement for such a system was recently issued by the IAF’s Helicopter Air Directorate in light of the success of the Trophy active protection system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which intercepted a rocket-propelled grenade fired at a Merkava Mk 4 tank deployed along the border with the Gaza Strip in March.

The Trophy system, which weighs 800 kg, would not be appropriate for helicopters since it fires off a cloud of countermeasures that could damage the aircraft’s rotor. The Trophy consists of radar that detects threats and activates one of two launchers, which discharges a cloud of “hard-kill” countermeasures that physically attack incoming threats.

“We are looking into a hard-kill system for helicopters that would work like Trophy,” a senior IAF officer said. “It is still under review and consideration.”

In 2007, the air force embarked on a major upgrade program for its Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters – called Yasour – which included the installation of electronic (soft-kill) warfare systems to divert missiles. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah shot down a Yasour in Lebanon, killing all of its crew.

In recent years, the IAF has changed the way it flies over the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon due to intelligence reports that both Hamas and Hezbollah have obtained a significant number of shoulder-to-air missiles.

Hamas, for example, is believed to have obtained Russian- made SA-7 shoulder-fired missiles from Iran. The air force believes that Hezbollah has also obtained a large quantity of shoulder-to-air missiles, and is concerned by reports that it might also have received the SA-8, a Russian tactical mobile truck-mounted surface-to-air missile system reported to have a range of 30 km.

15-07-11, 04:13 AM
Sikorsky X2 Technology demonstrator makes final flight

July 14, 2011

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s X2 Technology(TM) demonstrator has flown for the last time, the company announced today. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

In an early morning demonstration flight conducted from the company's new Sikorsky Innovations Center within its Development Flight Center, the X2 Technology demonstrator gave invited guests one last look at its technology in flight before officially being retired and transitioning to its first application, the S-97 Raider(TM) helicopter.

It was the 23rd test flight of the award-winning X2(TM) aircraft, which flew approximately 22 total hours and achieved a maximum cruise speed of 253 knots in level flight at its peak point in the program. That milestone, an unofficial speed record for a conventional helicopter, was achieved on Sept. 15, 2010.

"This flight is the culmination of a five-year, internally funded program to expand the operational envelope of helicopters," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino. "The results of this program speak to the success of a rapid prototyping environment, where a small empowered team was able to meet a specific number of very challenging goals. We met these within a small budget and a compressed schedule.

"The X2 program also has helped to develop the next generation of Sikorsky engineers, including some who are now in key positions on the S-97 Raider(TM) program and the Firefly(TM) electric helicopter program. Today, the entire Sikorsky workforce stands proud of this accomplishment and what it means for the future of rotorcraft aviation," Pino said.

The S-97 Raider helicopter program is the follow-on program to the X2 Technology demonstrator initiative. Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering Mark Miller said the S-97 Raider program will design, build and fly two prototype light tactical helicopters to enable the U.S. military to evaluate the viability of a fast and maneuverable next-generation rotorcraft for a variety of combat missions. A number of Sikorsky's military and commercial customers were on hand to observe today's final X2 Technology(TM) demonstrator flight.

"This program will produce two prototype assault/attack aircraft with six-passenger cabins and the ability to carry armament," Miller said. "In addition to the superior speed and maneuverability of X2 Technology, these aircraft are designed to be capable of 10,000-foot hover out of ground effect on a 95-degree day. The future awaits this technology, and today we can say that we see it on the horizon."

The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding, ultimately $50 million, for the program's development. Earlier this year, the X2 Technology(TM) demonstrator team won the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy, awarded annually to recognize the greatest achievements in aeronautics or astronautics in America.

In addition to winning the 2010 Collier Trophy, over the past two years the X2 Technology demonstrator received numerous accolades including the 2010 Hughes Award from the American Helicopter Society and Aviation Week's "One of the Top 10 Technologies to Watch" for 2010. In 2009, it won a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Innovator Award, and a Popular Science "Best of What's New" award. It also was named "One of 2009's Best Inventions" by Time.

Like the X2 Technology demonstrator, the S-97 Raider helicopter will be designed to feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller that enables an X2-designed helicopter to cruise at 220 knots. Other innovative technologies include fly-by-wire flight controls, hub drag reduction, active vibration control, and an integrated auxiliary propulsion system.

The X2 design is scalable, opening up a variety of potential mission uses including joint-multi-role such as combat search and rescue, armed aerial scout, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), attack, VIP transport, and offshore oil.

The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed.

Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are:

-- Fly-by-wire flight controls
-- Counter-rotating rigid rotor blades
-- Hub drag reduction
-- Active vibration control
-- Integrated auxiliary propulsion system

Source: Sikorsky

15-07-11, 04:41 AM
Sensors from CASSIDIAN to protect Korean Utility Helicopters

13 July 2011

• MILDS missile warning system increases security
• Optimized effect against shoulder-fired missiles

MILDS forward sensor heads, seen here in the NH90 configuration. (c) CASSIDIAN

Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS, will protect the "Surion" utility helicopter of the Korean Army against missile attacks. Following a multi-million euro contract from Korean Aircraft Industries, Cassidian will deliver a first batch of 24 of its proven AN/AAR-60 MILDS® systems (MILDS = Missile Launch Detection System), until 2013. The order comprises about 100 sensors. Cassidian already supported the Korean company Lig Nex1 in the development of the helicopter's electronic warfare system and delivered 36 sensors during the development phase.

“With more than 7,000 MILDS® sensors in service worldwide, MILDS® has become the standard missile warner for helicopters and wide-body aircraft today”, explains Bernd Wenzler, CEO of Cassidian Electronics. "It has proven its value in protecting air vehicles, particularly against infrared-guided shoulder-fired missiles."

MILDS® is a passive imaging sensor, detecting the UV radiation signature of approaching missiles. The extremely high resolution combined with rapid processing enables very reliable threat identification and virtually eliminates false alarms. 4 to 5 sensors provide optimized coverage and rapid reaction. MILDS® is in service aboard a huge variety of rotary wing and wide body aircraft, including Tiger, NH90, CH-53, CH-47, MI-17 and C-130. A specific fighter version – MILDS F – is in service with the Royal Danish Airforce and Royal Norwegian Airforce F-16 fighters.

The "Surion" has been developed jointly by Korean Aerospace Industries and Eurocopter. It is planned to procure approx. 250 helicopters.

22-07-11, 07:49 AM
Army Recon: Upgrading Kiowas Makes More Sense Than A New Helicopter
(Source: Lexington Institute; issued July 20, 2011)
(© Lexington Institute; reproduced by permission)

The U.S. Army has been seeking a successor to the OH-58 Kiowa reconnaissance helicopter for over a decade, and it has been a frustrating experience. The first attempt, called the RAH-66 Comanche, was canceled after it ran up $7 billion in development bills on a design that was too costly and complicated.

The Army then tried a lower-cost approach designated the ARH-70 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter that also came to grief. So now it is starting over for a third time, at a moment when the budgetary outlook is quite bleak.

Is a new start really necessary? The existing OH-58D Kiowa helicopter is already receiving a series of cockpit and sensor upgrades that will keep it operationally relevant for the next two decades, and its performance in overseas contingencies has been exemplary. Kiowa is the most heavily requested close-air-support aircraft in theater, sustaining the highest operational tempo of any rotorcraft (over a hundred flight hours per month in some cases), and yet its mission-capable rate is above 85 percent.

It appears the Army already has a winner operating in the armed reconnaissance role, and for the relatively modest sum of $2 billion, it will be able to afford all the items needed to upgrade it to a more capable "F" variant. So why risk repeating the RAH-66 or ARH-70 experience with a new start at a time when the budget knives are out for any program that begins to falter? Wouldn't it make more sense to stick with a proven design and simply extend the current upgrade program to the airframe and engines?

Army maintenance and training systems are already set up to support Kiowa, so by sticking with the OH-58 the service can avoid many of the sustainment costs associated with introducing a new airframe. More importantly, though, it can get enhanced warfighting capabilities to the deployed force quickly without incurring all the risks associated with developing and integrating a new armed reconnaissance rotorcraft. It's going to be hard enough to keep other investment programs like the Ground Combat Vehicle and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle on track, without introducing a new competitor for R&D dollars.

Sticking with Kiowa is the cheapest, most reliable way of making sure the armed reconnaissance mission can be accomplished for the next quarter-century. Considering what the Army's acquisition system has been through over the last decade -- and what its budget system will go through in the decade ahead -- upgrading Kiowa looks like a very attractive option.

23-07-11, 09:51 AM
Does anyone really believe that these helos will be deployed overseas at any time or even ever,not me, & better than the Apache [Major Archibald] he has got to be kidding. Also, just who is the Federal Govt & the Army under pressure from ,this is not spelt out in the article.

Helicopters can be deployed to war zone, experts declare Defence Writer Ian McPhedran From: The Advertiser July 22, 2011 12:00AM
The Australian Army's Tiger helicopters, from 162 Reconnaissance Squadron, are taking part in the joint military exercise in Shoalwater Bay just outside of Rockhampton
Major Hayden Archibald with one of the army's Tiger helicopters, from 162 Reconnaissance Squadron, which are taking part in the joint military exercise in Shoalwater Bay just outside of Rockhampton, Queensland.
THE Federal Government and military chiefs are under pressure to send new attack choppers to Afghanistan.
The Tigers are not fully accepted into operational service, but they have performed so well at the huge biennial military exercise with US forces at Shoalwater Bay that one senior officer has pronounced them "ready for war".The key sticking point remains the controversial issue of night-vision equipment - the choppers are more than ready for daytime operations in Afghanista

Senior officers have refused to consider deploying them until the delayed night-vision capability is fully operational.

"This exercise shows that the capability is mature and can integrate seamlessly into the army's battlefield systems," the officer in command of the Darwin-based 1st Aviation Regiment's 162 Reconnaissance Squadron, Major Hayden Archibald, told The Advertiser.

Built in Brisbane by Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace, the Aussie Tiger is one of the most advanced attack helicopters in the world.

Eight Tigers from the regiment's force of 12 have been deployed to Rockhampton with Battle Group Cavalier, that includes 10 Black Hawks from the Sydney- and Townsville-based 6 and 5 Aviation Regiments, and seven Kiowa helicopters.

Major Archibald rates the chopper above the much heavier US-built Apache.

The sleek machine is designed for attack, reconnaissance and security roles, and flies with a pilot up front and a gunner behind and above. Both are qualified pilots but the front seat is the pilot's station.

The pilot also operates the "self-protection" 30mm canon that is hooked up to his helmet-mounted sight display, so whatever the pilot sees is what the gun hits with high precision.

The Talisman Sabre war games have thrown up some spare-parts challenges for the Tigers; but that is unlikely to be a problem for machines deployed to a war zone.

"I would love to go to Afghanistan tomorrow with the Tigers," Major Archibald said.

"This machine is good to go. It is a wonderful aircraft to fly and is so well built for the attack role."

28-07-11, 04:52 PM
#OSH11: Sikorsky details X2 follow-ons

Uploaded by thedewline on Jul 25, 2011

Sikorsky test pilot Keven Bredenbeck describes the vehicles that may follow the X2, the company's newly-retired high-speed, coaxial-pusher combo that achieved a record-breaking speed of 250kt.

02-08-11, 02:41 PM
Collective Applause As ADF Pilots Fly GrandNew Helicopter

(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued Aug. 2, 2011)

Cossies Chairman of AW Aussie............well there ya go!

NOWRA, NSW --- “It was fantastic!” — that was the verdict of highly-experienced Australian Defence Force pilots who took the controls of the GrandNew helicopter at Nowra today, after it was demonstrated by the AgustaWestland, CAE and BAE Systems team for AIR9000 Phase 7.

From the most seasoned of naval aviators to the latest generation of young pilots, all said it was a great aircraft with good manoeuvrability and the latest in cockpit display technologies — and that it was fun to fly!

The GrandNew is a new generation light twin engine helicopter that is successfully operating worldwide. It is light enough for ab initio pilot training but large enough to perform aircrew training for other helicopter missions.

It incorporates advanced cockpit features and handling profiles to simplify aircrew transition onto the new generation of operational helicopter types entering ADF Service. Its twin engines, large power margin and wheeled undercarriage provide for the safest possible margins in both maritime and land training environments.

Chairman of AgustaWestland Australia General Peter Cosgrove (Retd) said: “The GrandNew provides a low-risk, off-the-shelf solution that will meet the future rotary-wing training needs of the Australian Defence Force. It is a fully crashworthy helicopter and complies with the most stringent international safety standards.”

Within the team, BAE Systems will lead all maintenance and support services. CAE has primary responsibility for the design of the overall synthetic training program, including the manufacture of training devices and classroom and simulator instruction.

Peter Redman, Interim Managing Director of CAE Australia said: “CAE and AgustaWestland have manufactured a number of simulators for the AW helicopter fleet. Our existing relationship and proven ability to integrate live and synthetic training environments should provide a high level of confidence to the ADF.”

“Through the Management and Support of ADF Aerospace Simulators (MSAAS) contract, we are an established ADF partner, contracted to provide aircrew training services for the C130 and KC-30A fleets, and engineering and maintenance services for the Black Hawk, Seahawk and Sea King and MRH 90 training equipment,” he added.

General Manager Aviation Maintenance and Support Services for BAE Systems Mike Shaw said: “Most of the maintenance work will be done in Australia by Australian workers. We have strong links with the Nowra community and support Navy and Army through existing programs for Sea Hawk, Black Hawk and Chinook. We look forward to further developing our strong relationship with AgustaWestland.”

As well as day-to-day servicing by BAE Systems, major repair and overhaul work for the transmission and other dynamic components will be done in the Transmission Repair and Overhaul facility being established in Australia — adding even more value to Australian industry.

The helicopter used in today’s demonstration is owned by Linfox, operated by its chief pilot Brett Quarrell and instructor pilot Michael Tavcar.


03-08-11, 02:54 PM
Helicopter to Be Produced at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant Receives Official Name M-171A2

(Source: Ulan-Ude; issued August 2, 2011)

The advanced Mi-171M helicopter to be produced by JSC Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (JSC U-UAP), which is a part of Russian Helicopters holding, now is officially named Mi-171A2.

The helicopter is being developed by JSC MMHP within the framework of the project, approved by the Russian helicopter building holding Russian Helicopters. Up to date the helicopter had just only designation code Mi-171M. The new aircraft is being developed on the basis of Mi-171A1 helicopter being produced by JSC U-UAP which is certified by ARIAC (Aviation Register of Interstate Aviation Committee) and CTA (Brazil) and is one of the most up-to-date helicopters in respect of safety level in the Mi-8/171 family.

It is planned to implement on the helicopter a more powerful engine unit, composite main rotor blades, reinforced transmission, X-type tail rotor, integrated flight and navigation system (glass cockpit) and a number of other significant upgrades. Total of more than 80 various innovations will be introduced into the helicopter design, which will allow improving helicopter performance, enhancing maintenance system, reducing flight hour cost.

“Russian Helicopter” holding has completed Mi-171A2 upgraded helicopter technical image specification in November 2010; commercial and state operators of Mi-8/17 helicopters type took part in the development of this helicopter. This project began in 2009. It is planned to complete development works, tests and certification of the new helicopter by the end of 2013. Mi-171A2 helicopter is planned to be certified as per ARIAC airworthiness requirements. Certification of the helicopter in other countries also is planned.

Mi-171A2 helicopter is an advanced helicopter developed on basis of Mi-171A1 helicopter produced by JSC Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The helicopter will have improved power plant and transmission, new rotor system, modernized complex of avionics, better performance and serviceability, new maintenance system and service. The helicopter is planned to be certified as per AP-29 standards. The project of development and serial manufacturing application of the Mi-171A2 helicopter is carried out by JSC Russian Helicopters. The helicopter’s designer is JSC Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. According to provisional schedule, the serial manufacturing of the Mi-171A2 helicopter will start at JSC Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in 2014.

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, JSC – one of Russian Helicopters enterprises.

The modern manufacturing and technological capacities of the Plant makes it possible to quickly start production of new aircraft types and combine the manufacture of prototypes and mass production. Over 8000 aircraft have been built over the 70-year history of the Plant. Today it produces the Mi-171, Mi-171A1, and Mi-171Sh helicopters.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is the subsidiary of UIC Oboronprom, a part of Russian Technologies State Corporation. It controls the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company named after N.I. Sazykin, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM, Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant and Helicopter Service Company.


08-08-11, 02:01 PM
First GE38 Engine Delivered for Marine Corps CH-53K Program

(Source: GE Aviation; issued August 4, 2011)

LYNN, MA -- GE has delivered the first engine for the Sikorsky CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle culminating two years of successful testing that has convincingly demonstrated the engine's ability to provide the increased mission capability required for United States Marine Corps (USMC) missions.

"Every day, testing has validated our design philosophy and reinforced our confidence in our ability to provide increased mission capability at an affordable cost," said GE38 Program Manager Harry Nahatis.

Selected by Sikorsky in 2006, the GE38 provides 57% more power and 18% lower specific fuel consumption than the similarly sized GE T64 powering the CH-53E Super Stallion, and has 63% fewer parts for lower Operating and Support (O&S) costs.

Today's delivery finalizes a year of intense GE38 testing. Three-hundred hours of cyclic durability tests -- conducted at nearly twice the customary severity levels -- validated hot section durability. High pressure turbine aeromechanics, heat transfer survey tests, lube vehicle qualification testing and sea level performance assessments demonstrated the GE38 engine's robust design and its ability to operate at all aircraft attitudes.

Test plans on the 2011 calendar include a series of ingestion tests plus high cycle fatigue testing to validate the engine's capability to operate in the CH-53K environment. Altitude testing -- designed to enhance performance and operability -- is underway in Evendale, Ohio. In addition, integration testing of the latest Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) design is being conducted at Sikorsky’s Software Integration Lab.

In all, GE38 testing includes five ground-test engines that will accumulate more than 5,000 engine test hours, plus 20 flight-test engines for the Sikorsky CH-53K development aircraft.

A cornerstone for a new turboshaft/turboprop engine family, the GE38 offers revenue potential of more than $4 billion including heavy-lift, turboprop and marine applications.

GE38 architecture has state-of-the-art aerodynamic features for more efficient operation, plus improved cooling schemes and materials for added durability. It can provide significantly lower fuel consumption for longer range and/or heavier payload compared to other engines in its class. Added power provides mission flexibility and enhanced hot/high aircraft performance, while its simplified design translates to improved reliability and a significant O&S cost reductions.

The GE38 features a more rugged compressor design to increase durability and resistance to sand erosion and salt water corrosion -- features ideal to withstand the USMC's tough operating environment.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.


16-08-11, 04:33 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Rocky Mountain Wildcat

Posted by Guy Norris at 8/15/2011 8:42 PM CDT

An AgustaWestland test team is set to return to the U.K. later this week from Canon City, Colorado where it has been flying the first AW159 Lynx Wildcat TI1 at high density altitudes in the Rocky Mountains. The testing is focused on hot and high handling characteristics and overall performance evaluations, including simulated engine out tests of the helicopter’s CTS800 turboshafts.

Lynx Wildcat heads for new heights - AgustaWestland

The upgraded Lynx derivative first flew from the company’s Yeovil facility in the U.K. in November 2009 and has since been joined by two sisterships – TI2, the avionics test aircraft, and TI3 which is focused on loads and naval development tasks.

Canon City’s airport in Colorado’s Fremont County is 5,400 ft above sea level and close to several peaks above 8,000 ft in an environment similar to parts of Afghanistan. Under existing plans the UK will initially receive 34 AW159s for the British Army and 28 for the Royal Navy. The Army variant is to enter operational service in 2014, with the Naval variant following in 2015.

17-08-11, 12:14 PM
MAKS 2011: New Russian light helicopter unveiled

August 17, 2011

A new light, coaxial helicopter was displayed to the public for the first time at the MAKS air show outside Moscow from 16 to 21 August.

Manufacturer Berkut hopes that the helicopter, the Berkut VL, will be able to cut into the market share that Robinson Helicopters holds within Russia for training and sport helicopters with its R22 and R44 machines.

Berkut’s development director Dmitry Rumyantsev told Shephard that the two-seat helicopter had been under development for less than three years and the company hoped to carry out the first flight of the aircraft at the end of September.

‘This is a real prototype, with a real engine and real equipment inside,’ Rumyantsev said.

‘There are several patents for various parts of the helicopter. After the first flight we will move towards certification and we expect that at the end of 2012 there will be a full programme.’

The Berkut VL is being developed at a plant in Tolyatti in central Russia, which is expected to produce 15 per month once full production begins. This is tentatively scheduled for the end of 2012 to the first six months of 2013.

Rumyantsev said development had been aided by the amount of aerospace companies in the region, resulting in a ready logistics chain.

With a take-off weight of 740 kg, the Berkut VL will have a maximum speed of 174 km/h and range of 380 km. Developers believe that the flying characteristics of the coaxial helicopter will result in an aircraft that is both easier to fly for new pilots and provides an obvious transition path for those moving onto larger Russian coaxial rotorcraft such as the Ka-32 or Ka-226.

Rumyantsev said the aircraft would be competitively priced against the R22 and with the 147hp engine able to run on gasoline 95 would be cheaper to operate. Buyers will have the option of a Lycoming O-320 or Russian ConverVAZ engine.

As well as the domestic market, the company also hopes to offer the aircraft to North and South America operators. Dependent on progress with the two-seat Berkut VL, the company also plans for a four-seat version of the aircraft.

Tony Skinner, Moscow

17-08-11, 04:13 PM
MAKS 2011: Russia and China discuss joint heavy lift helicopter

August 17, 2011

The Russian and Chinese governments remain in discussion about the potential joint production of a new heavy lift helicopter that would be based on the Mil Mi-26.

At the MAKS air show outside Moscow on 16 August, a spokesman for Russian Helicopters confirmed that the holding company was working on a proposal for a joint venture (JV) with an undisclosed Chinese partner but noted it needed approval at the governmental level first.

While the spokesman would not name the Chinese company, it has previously been reported that state-owned Avicopter is working with Russian Helicopters on the development of a helicopter in the class of the Mil Mi-26.

In March 2010, Hang Zhang Biao, director of the Chinese government’s industrial science and technology committee, urged that the development of an indigenous heavy-lift helicopter was a ‘national priority’ particularly when it came to issues such as disaster relief.

The Russian Helicopter’s spokesman said the holding company’s involvement centred on its experience producing the Mi-26, although whether the JV aimed to produce an aircraft as powerful as the Russian heavy lifter was still to be determined.

The proposal reflects a strategy followed by Western helicopter manufacturers, several of which have entered into partnerships and joint development with Chinese companies in recent years, such as Eurocopter’s joint production of the EC175 (AC532) with Avicopter.

The long-anticipated opening up of China’s airspace to private and commercial helicopter operators, which seems to be nearing following the announcement in November 2010 that the government had decided to speed up the reform, has only added impetus to such moves.

The capabilities of the Mi-26 itself are well known within China due to the efforts of the aircraft following the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. In June a Chinese delegation that included Vice-Premier of the State Council Wang Qishan visited Kazan Helicopters to view the Mi-17 and Ansat production lines and discuss progress of the new medium multirole Mi-38 programme.

Meanwhile, Russian Helicopters used MAKS to publicly display its modernised Mi-26T2 to the public for the first time.

The modernised version of the aircraft, which is currently continuing test flights at the Rostvertol facility and has now logged 10 flight hours, is being developed towards an Indian defence ministry tender for 15 heavy lift helicopters. According to Russian Helicopters, demonstration flights of the Mi-26T2 have already been held for an Indian delegation.

The spokesman said the helicopter was fitted with a modern BREO-26 avionics suite designed by Ramenskoye Design Company and a glass cockpit equipped with five multi-functional LCDs that can display a coloured image of external load.

The Mi-26T2 also features a new digital autopilot, a new navigation system supporting NAVSTAR/GLONASS and an additional Tranzas TSL-1600 light to visually control external loads at night.

Such features have allowed the crew to be reduced from five to two while the new avionics allow the aircraft to be operated under international IFR standards.

The modernised D-136-2 engines have increased take-off power to 250hp at maximum take-off mode. The Mi-26T2 has a MTOW of 56 tons, is able to carry 20 tons as a load, and has a maximum range of 800km. Ferry range with additional fuels tanks has increased to 1905km.

Tony Skinner, Moscow

18-08-11, 03:03 PM
Minister Ignored Expert Advice On Helicopters

(Source: Swedish Radio; broadcast Aug. 18, 2011)

In 2001, the Swedish Armed Forces placed a bulk order for a French-made helicopter at a cost of $US 935 million, against the advice of experts from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration.

Swedish Radio News has now learnt that the reason for this was that the then defence minister, Björn von Sydow, ignored the expert advice given and pushed ahead regardless with his decision to pursue a common Nordic helicopter procurement policy. The decision back in 2001 to buy 18 French NH90 helicopters has so far cost the Swedish tax payer an extra $US 732 million and resulted in a helicopter system that is now eleven years delayed.

The decision back in 2001 to buy 18 French NH90 helicopters has so far cost the Swedish tax payer an extra $US 732 million and resulted in a helicopter system that is now eleven years delayed.

“There was great political pressure that we should have a common Nordic helicopter. It was in reality only the NH90 helicopter that could satisfy all the Nordic nations’ requirements,” says Commander Claes Lundin, who negotiated on the behalf of the Swedish Armed Forces.

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, or FMV, is an independent, civil authority with the task to provide the Swedish Armed Forces with materiel, systems and methods. Swedish Radio News has obtained access to documents showing how the FMV advised against buying the French NH90 helicopter and instead recommended the American helicopter, Sikorsky S-92, judging it to be more cost-effective, with a lower project risk and the best delivery plan.

The FMV also warned of the dangers of ordering the French NH90 helicopter, highlighting risks of delayed deliveries, which in turn would mean having to fill the gap with other helicopter purchases.

Previously unseen documents now reveal, however, that the then defence minister, Björn von Sydow, had already made up his mind that Sweden should buy the NH90, as this was the model that Norway and Finland had decided upon. Von Sydow was resolved to have a common Nordic helicopter and, given all the requirements, the NH90 then became the only possibility.

FMV’s expert recommendations went unheeded and the Swedish Armed Forces implemented the wish of the defence minister. Orders were accordingly made for 18 NH90 helicopters in 2001 at a cost of $US 935 million, all of which should have been delivered by 2009. As of August 2011, only two have been delivered.

To fill the gap left by the undelivered helicopters, Sweden bought 15 Black Hawks last year as a temporary solution, costing the tax payer a further $US 732 million.

In an interview with Swedish Radio News, the former defence minister Björn von Sydow says that he can’t remember if he read the FMV’s recommendation or not before making the decision back in 2001.

“I can’t answer that at this point,” he says. “I haven’t had the opportunity to look over the document in question and do not have any recollection of it.”

So the fears of FMV proved to be well-founded: Von Sydows determination to push through a common Nordic helicopter has led to severe delays and cost hundreds of millions extra.

Lieutenant Colonel Sölve Malm, tasked with looking into the over-budgeted helicopter affair, is unimpressed. “This is not the way it should be. We handle state funds, from the taxpayer, and they should be used more responsibly by those in authority,” says Sölve Malm.

Following Swedish Radio News’s report, the Liberal Party’s defence spokesperson, Allan Widman, has said that the remaining helicopters awaiting delivery should be cancelled.

“My personal view is that we should cancel the helicopters. It’s still uncertain whether they will be able to be used for their intended purposes,” Widman says.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Canada, which unlike Sweden did buy the Sikorsky S-92 (which it calls the CH-148 Cyclone), has experienced several years of delays on the program , as well as unmet specifications and cost overruns, so Sweden would probably not have been better off had it followed FMV’s alleged recommendation.)


22-08-11, 02:38 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Old fashioned weaponary now greatest threat to war zone helicopter survivability

By Stephen Trimble

A decade of investment in directed infrared countermeasures has inadvertently produced a cruel irony. It is now easier to protect helicopters from some of the world's most advanced smart weapons than from old-fashioned bullets and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

The 6 August shooting down of a Boeing MH-47 Chinook that killed 30 Americans, eight Afghans and one military dog tragically underscored the dilemma. US officials have confirmed the helicopter was struck by an RPG, but they are continuing to investigate all of the circumstances of the subsequent crash.

It was the single most deadly attack on American forces in the nearly decade-long conflict, but it was no isolated example.

A Chinook takes off with a Humvee sling-load, while helicopter reliability is crucial to survivability in Afghanistan

Only 12 days earlier, another CH-47 was shot down by an RPG. That attack left two injured.

The previous most deadly attack in Afghanistan also involved a CH-47, which was shot down by an RPG-equipped insurgent in 2005.

The US Army does not publish details of helicopters lost in combat zones from hostile fire. but a 2010 public presentation by the US Department of Defense's Al Shaffer, principal deputy for defense research and engineering, claims hostile fire accounted for 36% of all helicopter losses in Operation Enduring Freedom at that time. This threat to helicopters has not gone unnoticed or unchallenged. There is virtually nothing a helicopter pilot can do to escape a well-aimed or lucky RPG shot. In many cases the pilot is not even aware of a small arms threat until it is too late.


That lack of situational awareness is finally being addressed with a new wave of hostile fire indication (HFI) systems, now entering service.

Examples range from introducing the ground fire acquisition system for the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet, to upgrading the AAR-47 missile warning system to detect plumes from RPG launchers, to the all-new joint allied threat awareness system (JATAS), which will scan for missile threats simultaneously with small arms. HFI technology is a first step but not the answer as systems can only alert the flight crew of gunfire or RPG launches after the fact - the shooter is allowed at least one free shot. If the HFI system is accurate enough, the pilot should be able to find the source of the attack and manoeuvre away or fight back. Defeating the incoming round remains a step too far for modern helicopters. While tanks and other ground vehicles are increasingly defended with active protection, the weight and complexity of such systems still rules them out for helicopters.

Developing a workable HFI system has been a goal for decades. In the late 1970s, UK-based MS Instruments developed an acoustic-based HFI sensor but it was limited to detection ranges of 20-30m. Due to the number of helicopters being shot down since 2003, the military has invested heavily in HFI technology.


Some radical approaches, such as the BAE Systems E-scan radar, sponsored by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, seemed to have been abandoned. The new wave of HFI systems represent more realistic thinking. Modern systems appear to accept there is no adequate way to counter the first salvo of RPGs or bullets. The latest version of the AAR-47 will provide the pilot with the miss distance. As the AAR-47 is replaced by JATAS, the HFI systems will be upgraded to provided the angle and finally general location of the shooter. Meanwhile, companies competing for the US Army's common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) programme have sensed an opportunity for possible future upgrades.

The CIRCM is designed to use a laser to jam incoming missile seekers, but a separate laser could also be added. This system would be used to "dazzle" the shooters after the HFI picks up an errant first shot. The dazzler is designed to make it uncomfortable for the shooter to maintain eye contact with the target.

24-08-11, 03:05 PM
Fly-By-Wire Technology Joins Utility Helicopters

(Source: US Army; issued Aug. 22, 2011)

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. --- In use in other Defense Department aircraft for years, fly-by-wire now replaces the conventional manual flight controls in some Black Hawk helicopters with an electronic interface.

The flight-control movements are converted to electronic signals and sent to flight control computers that use them to determine how to move the aircraft.

This technology can automatically perform functions without input from the pilot, such as systems that automatically stabilize the aircraft.

"The fly-by-wire variant of the UH-60M Black Hawk offers increased handling capability, lower maintenance burden, decreased pilot work load, and full-authority digital engine control," Maj. Jeffrey Stvan, assistant program manager UH-60 Modernization, said.

This technology greatly decreases the workload of the pilots, allowing them to focus on their surroundings and reduce fatigue, by permitting them to better control the loads.

"Fly-by-wire offers increased handling capabilities and decreased pilot workload. This allows the pilot to focus on his current mission," Stvan said. "One aim of the fly-by-wire system is to allow the pilot to keep more of his concentration outside the cockpit and on his surrounding environment."

Maj. Carl Ott, an Army experimental test pilot for the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center's Aeroflightdyanmics Directorate at Moffett Field, Calif., has done testing for the Utility Project Office and Sikorsky, involving fly-by-wire technology. He said fly-by-wire technology is geared toward making the aircraft highly stable and more predictable.

This technology will also help troops on the ground, when a pilot can focus more on the surroundings and efficiently making deliveries and place payloads that will be a great advantage, officials said.

"The fly-by-wire is an enabling technology that will allow for more advanced, adaptive, flight controls and sensors to be integrated into a helicopter making them easier and safer to fly," Ott said.


03-09-11, 03:00 AM
Fourth Team To Join JMR Rotorcraft Studies

Sep 2, 2011

By Graham Warwick

A fourth team is to join Boeing, Bell-Boeing and Sikorsky in competitively studying concepts for the Joint Multi Role (JMR) medium utility rotorcraft, which could replace U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters beginning late next decade.

Boeing, Bell-Boeing and Sikorsky were awarded 18-month configuration trades and analysis contracts at the end of June. Each is worth around $4 million, with industry contributing a similar amount.

“We are negotiating with one more, and should award a contract in the next couple of weeks,” says Ned Chase, platform technologies division chief at the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). He spoke Aug. 31 at a conference in Patuxent River, Md., organized by vertical-lift technical society AHS International.

Concept studies are the first step toward the planned awarding of contracts to build two different JMR technology demonstrators that would fly by fiscal 2017 as a precursor for development of a new medium utility rotorcraft to be fielded around 2027-28.

The three teams already under contract are taking different approaches. One is “doing a deep dive on a single configuration,” Chase says. Another is studying three different concepts, while the third is looking at all possible options, he says.

Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison has said previously that the Bell-Boeing team responsible for the V-22 Osprey proposed a tilt-rotor configuration for the JMR studies.

The fourth contract is taking longer to negotiate because the unidentified entity is not as experienced in contracting with the Defense Department, “but they have a good proposal,” Chase says.

The Pentagon has compiled a list of desired attributes for a JMR family of vertical-lift vehicles to replace its current fleet of helicopters, including the AH-64D Apache, UH-60M Black Hawk and CH-47F Chinook. These include 200-kt.-plus speed, 230-nm combat radius, 6,000-ft./95F hot/high performance and increased affordability, durability and survivability.

The configuration studies “will distill out the things that bring the most value, and get from a list of attributes to the design requirements for a next-generation rotorcraft,” Chase says. “They will provide the performance specification for the demonstrator aircraft.”

The same list of attributes for a medium utility JMR have been supplied to an independent government design team that is looking at advanced helicopter, compound helicopter and tilt-rotor concepts, Chase says.

The government designers are providing data on the three configurations to an operations analysis team at Fort Rucker, Ala., which will run scenarios to establish the relative operational values of the desired attributes.

AATD plans to award multiple contracts in fiscal 2013 to begin design of JMR demonstrators. Following preliminary design reviews, the Army in fiscal 2015 will downselect to two contractors to build the aircraft.

Phase 1 of the demonstration will involve flight tests of the demonstrator air vehicles. Phase 2, following two years later, will involve the design and integration of open-architecture mission systems into the demonstrator aircraft.

09-09-11, 02:00 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

BAE BLASTs Brownout

Posted by Graham Warwick at 9/8/2011 12:02 PM CDT

Helicopter brownout accidents have not been in the news as much of late, particulary as operations have shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan and rugged terrain has replaced desert sand as the principal threat to rotary-wing operations. But it takes time to develop technological solutions, and industry is still perfecting sysems that enable pilots to see through swirling dust, sand and snow - but are small and cheap enough to fit on helicopters.

BAE Systems will showcase its Brownout Landing Aid System Technology (BLAST) at next week's DSEi show in the UK, and has posted a video from tests conducted at Yuma Proving Ground in April on an Army UH-1 testbed.

Video: BAE Systems
Uploaded by baesystemsinc on Sep 8, 2011
BAE Systems successfully tested BLAST during a two-week campaign in April 2011 at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. Fitted on a Bell UH-1 'Huey' testbed helicopter, the system demonstrated that it could provide real-time information to a pilot in conditions of degraded visibility.
Weighing just 16 pounds and measuring seven inches in diameter, the 94-GHz sensor was mounted in the nose of a U.S. Army Bell UH-1 helicopter and provided excellent results when flown over numerous types of obstacle courses.

BLAST combines a nose-mounted 94GHz millimeter-wave radar for 3D terrain visualization and obstacle detection, a digital terrain elevation database and the Army's BOSS brownout symbology. Tested in January 2009 on a UH-60 Black Hawk, DARPA's Sandblaster system also used an MMW "see-through" radar sensor, combined with synthetic-vision display imagery and special fly-by-wire flight control laws.

The Army has also tested Sierra Nevada's Helicopter Autonomous Landing System (HALS), based on a 94GHz imaging radar, digital terrain database and BOSS symbology. The Air Force Research Laboratory's 3D-LZ system, also tested on a Black Hawk, uses a laser radar, as does Rockwell Collins' LandSafe system, which has been tested on a Marine Corps CH-53E.

So there has been a lot of development work, but not a lot of procurement action. Perhaps it's because systems were a bit too heavy and expensive and not quite ready for prime time, so helicopter operators fielded improved hover symbology as a quicker and cheaper - if not complete - answer to the problem. BAE says BLAST is based on off-the-shelf technology and is at TRL 6, ready to enter full-scale development.

Darpa's Sandblaster, meanwhile, has morphed into the Multifunction RF program to demonstrate a lighter-weight, three-dimensional, W-band radar for situational awareness, terrain and obstacle avoidance, air-to-air collison avoidance, targeting and fire control as well as see-through sensing for landing in degraded visual environments. Plans call for flight tests in FY2012.

14-09-11, 02:31 AM
Army Begins Defining Future Vertical-Lift

Sep 13, 2011

By Graham Warwick

Finally responding to calls from operators and industry to begin work on replacing its hard-pressed helicopter fleets, the U.S. Army is moving ahead with a program to develop the next generation of rotorcraft. But the service faces a challenge securing sufficient government and industry funding to sustain competition until a development program can begin around the end of the decade.

The Army has kicked off the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program not knowing exactly what it wants or which of its helicopter fleets it will replace first. Instead it has a list of desired attributes and a rough timescale—2027-28—for fielding its first all-new rotorcraft in 50 years. The task of turning those attributes into requirements for a next-generation aircraft falls to a pair of technology demonstrators the service plans to build and fly in 2017.

In a sign the Army is getting serious, its budget for rotorcraft science and technology (S&T)—which has long run at a mere $100 million a year—is being augmented for the JMR demonstrators. But additional funding, as well as industry cost-sharing, will be needed if the service is to fly two robust demonstrators with mission systems and so keep its competitive options open.

“It’s a major breakthrough that we are not flat-lined at $100 million and they have been successful in getting Army leadership to increase S&T funding for the JMR demonstration,” says Michael Hirschberg, executive director of American Helicopter Society (AHS) International, a technical body. “It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to do everything they want the technology demonstrators to do.”

JMR is seen as a family of vertical-lift vehicles, from light to ultra-heavy, sharing common technologies. As a starting point, the Army has selected the middle of the range and the medium utility JMR. Not only would this replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks that make up its single largest helicopter fleet, but studies over the next two years will show to what extent technologies required in a medium utility JMR could scale down to the light scout and up to the heavy transport classes.

Distilled from several recent Army and Pentagon-level analyses that identified gaps in U.S. rotorcraft capabilities, the list of desired attributes for the JMR family of vehicles includes speed exceeding 200 kt., up from less than 150 kt. for today’s helicopters, a combat radius of 230 nm and 6,000-ft./95F hot-and-high performance. In addition to better affordability, durability and survivability, other attributes include a common core avionics architecture and an optionally manned capability.

“The capabilities demanded cannot be achieved through upgrading the current fleet,” says Ned Chase, platform technologies division chief at the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). “We want to build two technology demonstrators to pursue capabilities lacking in the current fleet while maintaining competition and providing different alternatives.”

The list of attributes for the medium utility JMR has been provided to three industry teams that received configuration trades and analysis contracts at the end of June. Awarded to Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky, the 18-month contracts are each worth $4 million, with industry contributing a similar amount. “We are negotiating with one more, and should award a contract in the next couple of weeks,” says Chase.

The configuration studies “will distill out the things that bring the most value, and get us from a list of attributes to the design requirements for a next-generation rotorcraft,” he says. “They will provide the performance specification for the demonstrator aircraft.”

The JMR demonstrators will not be prototypes, as the YUH-60 and -61 were for the Black Hawk or YAH-63 and -64 for the Apache. For one thing, they are expected to be smaller than the objective vehicles to reduce cost. And secondly, Chase says, the Army has committed to industry to have another competition for development and production.

The three teams already under contract are taking different approaches. One is “doing a deep dive on a single configuration,” says Chase. Another is studying three different concepts, while the third is looking at all possible options, he says. Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison has said previously that the Bell Boeing team responsible for the V-22 Osprey proposed a tiltrotor configuration for the JMR studies. The fourth contract is taking longer to negotiate because the unidentified entity is not as experienced in contracting with the Defense Department, “but they have a good proposal,” says Chase.

The same list of attributes for a medium utility JMR has been supplied to an independent government design team that is looking at advanced helicopter, compound helicopter and tiltrotor concepts, he says. The government designers are providing data on the three configurations to an operations analysis team at Fort Rucker, Ala., which will run scenarios to establish the relative values of the desired attributes. “They will consider the performance of a fleet of aircraft to establish what operational value each attribute brings to the table,” Chase says.

“We need to understand which attributes are most important on the battlefield, and most cost-effective to implement,” he says. “We need to understand how to get the right mix of capabilities on the aircraft. The decisions we make will impact rotary-wing aviation operations for the next 50 years.”

The aim is to develop a draft requirement for the medium utility JMR—“it’s about this big, goes this far, does these things and we have an idea we can afford it,” Chase says—and use that to derive the demonstrator specification.

At the same time, an acquisition team involving the Army, Navy, Special Operations Command and other potential customers is developing an initial capabilities document (ICD) establishing the requirements for the JMR. This is expected to be completed by mid-fiscal 2012, says Chase. The ICD is a necessary precursor to an analysis of alternatives and Milestone A approval for a new acquisition program, and it is not clear yet whether the ICD will be for the overall JMR family of vehicles or just for the medium utility class.

“We have established a joint-service team through the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift [FVL] working group,” he says. This brings together rotorcraft operators within the Pentagon and was directed by Congress to determine capability gaps, develop an S&T road map and strategic plan for vertical lift, and identify funds for technology development.

With the ICD in place, AATD plans to award multiple contracts in fiscal 2013 to begin design of the JMR demonstrators. Following preliminary design reviews, the Army in fiscal 2015 intends to downselect to two contractors to build the aircraft. “We are putting funding in place for two. They may be the same or entirely different configurations,” he says. Phase 1 of the demonstration will involve flight tests of the demonstrator air vehicles. Phase 2, following two years later, will involve the design and integration of two open-architecture mission systems into the demonstrator aircraft.

Work on defining the common core architecture has already begun. “We’ve started that first, to build a Defense Department/industry consensus on an open systems architecture,” says Chase, adding that the program office responsible for developing the Army’s Victory open architecture for combat vehicles is involved. The goal is to develop a common standard for a scalable architecture to be used in mission-system development in Phase 2. As with the air-vehicle Phase 1, the plan is to award two demonstration contracts to avionics integrators “as a hedge against risk,” says Chase.

With U.S. military rotorcraft production facing a cliff around the end of this decade as procurement programs end, AHS has been campaigning for more investment in technology development to sustain industry capabilities and lay foundations for the next generation.

“The Defense Department needs to ensure there is enough funding for the JMR demonstrators to really be relevant,” says Hirschberg. “This is the Pentagon’s one chance to realize a significant advancement in capabilities—they can’t afford to be timid.”

AATD Concept

14-09-11, 11:32 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

DSEi: BAE eyes 'Adaptiv' camouflage to cloak helicopters

By Dominic Perry

BAE Systems has introduced a new "smart" camouflage system, which could eventually be adapted for use on helicopters.

Called Adaptiv and described as "a thermal TV screen", the system comprises a series of interlocking hexagonal tiles that can be programmed to mimic the heat signature of a vehicle's surroundings by heating or cooling accordingly.

Initially designed for use on land vehicles, the tiles can also project the heat signature of non-threatening vehicles, or display messages to friendly forces.

Peder Sjölund, who leads the survivability programme at BAE's Örnsköldsvik site in Sweden, said the manufacturer is looking to develop more flexible and lighter versions of the tiles, which could in future be used on rotorcraft.

"To actually be able to use Adaptiv on a helicopter - well, we have some years of development to go. It's all about weight: how much can I add before I destroy the aerodynamics? We have to meet up with customers to talk about their requirements," he said at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London on 13 September.

Adaptiv is about two years away from commercial launch for land vehicles, he said.

© BAE Systems

Marketing materials shown by BAE at DSEi included an image of an AgustaWestland AW109 light utility helicopter depicted with the Adaptiv technology.

15-09-11, 03:30 AM
X-2 Maxes Out in Medium-Sized Role: Sikorsky Executive


Published: 14 Sep 2011 19:14

Sikorsky's breakthrough X-2 high-speed helicopter likely can't be scaled up to the size of a heavy-lift helo, a Sikorsky executive told reporters Sept. 14.

"There is a question on the scalability on the X-2 technology at the medium class," said Scott Starrett, Sikorsky's vice president for government business development. "When you get to the utility-medium or attack-medium class, it scales nicely." However, with size and weight increases "you starting getting up to that kind of payload and physical size and it gets to be a different challenge for the technology."

Starrett said that the company's CH-53K, which Sikorsky is developing for the U.S. Marine Corps, could fit into the Defense Department's Joint Multi-Role (JMR) requirement for the heavy-lift helicopter.

"When that becomes available, we think the other services might be interested in it," he said.

For the so-called "ultra-class," which would be a vertical lift machine the size of a C-130 tactical fixed-wing transport, Starrett said that tilt-rotor technology would be the technology of choice. Yet Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, Arlington, Va., said that the prospect of developing such an aircraft in the foreseeable future is virtually non-existent given the nation's dire fiscal situation.

15-09-11, 01:16 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

DSEi: Lynx Wildcat aces operating trials

By Craig Hoyle

It's a pity NZ doesn't have the funds cos these make far more sense than the Sea Shytes they have now...................

AgustaWestland brought one of the British Army's future Lynx Wildcat helicopters to the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) show in London, as its flight test programme for the type nears an end.

The aircraft on display is the third of 62 production Lynx Wildcats that will be manufactured for the army and the UK Royal Navy, with deliveries to start early next year. Eight of the aircraft are currently on the assembly line at the company's Yeovil site in Somerset.

Flight testing of the Lynx Wildcat has now reached 350h. Only another 38h must be logged using two of its three prototypes.

"Flight testing has gone extremely well. We are very confident in the aircraft," said David Hillcoat, AgustaWestland programme manager.

© Andrew Costerton/Flightglobal

Recent activities have included taking the programme's first prototype to Colorado, USA, to undergo "hot and high" operating trials. Around 45 flight hours were logged, and the aircraft "performed as we had planned," Hillcoat said.

Another aircraft has been flown in the UK carrying dummy Thales lightweight multirole missiles, in eight different load configurations. The weapon is on order to arm navy examples of the Lynx Wildcat.

The first ship/helicopter operating limits trials will be conducted in October, using the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Argus.

"Our main milestone will be securing initial release to service in February," said Hillcoat. "Live flying will start in March, and the first aircraft will be delivered to the army in April."

Around six of the type should be handed over to the service next year, with its first pilots to begin training in March.

Operations with the new Lynx Wildcat fleet will be centred at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, with the navy scheduled to take delivery of its first of the aircraft during 2013.

AgustaWestland is promoting the aircraft for export sale as the AW159, and has identified Denmark as a possible buyer.

16-09-11, 01:51 AM
South Korea To Issue AH-X RFP In January

Sep 15, 2011

By Bradley Perrett
Sacheon, South Korea

Forget death and taxes. Probably the surest thing in aerospace these days is that South Korea will want serious technology transfer in any major military equipment order.

The country’s manufacturers are increasingly confident in their ability to win manufacturing contracts without the compulsion of offsets. More and more, they and the government want the know-how behind the systems that the country buys, with the aim of making the next generation themselves.

In an classic example of that process, the planned Korea Attack Helicopter (KAH) might end up as an amalgam of European, South Korean and U.S. technology if Boeing, as looks likely, wins Seoul’s separate AH-X rotorcraft for 36 heavy attack rotorcraft.

With a request for proposals likely within months, the other competitors for the AH-X competition are expected to be Eurocopter, offering the Tiger; Bell with the AH-1Z Viper; and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and AgustaWestland with the T-129, a derivative of the A129 Mangusta.

The South Korean army wants the Apache, say local and U.S. officials in government and industry. It has been trying to buy the aircraft for more than a decade, and its keenness has only risen with the transfer of U.S. Army Apaches *(AH-64) from the peninsula to Iraq two years ago. While the preference of the South Korean forces is not always decisive in a country that often puts industrial development first, two factors are reinforcing Boeing’s already high chances.

One of those is the transfer of Apache airframe manufacturing to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), which is shaping up as the national helicopter champion. KAI will build airframes for U.S. Army Apaches whether the country buys the aircraft or not, but South Korean orders will add to the orderbook.

A second factor is the definition of the indigenous Korean Attack Helicopter as an aircraft of about 5 metric ton—uncomfortably close to the gross weight of all of the AH-X competitors except for the 8-ton Apache.

Boeing’s approach to the offset requirement is to suggest the integration of Apache avionics on the KAH. As the U.S. government urges South Korea to put priority on interoperability with U.S. forces on the peninsula—and therefore choose the Apache—Boeing is stressing the value of the KAH being able to operate with its helicopter. Integration of U.S. weapons, such as the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile, would also be simplified by moving systems from the Apache to the KAH.

Each of the other likely bidders brings important advantages. South Korea and Turkey have a developing military-industrial relationship that would be further promoted by the choice of TAI and AgustaWestland. The army already operates earlier versions of the AH-1, so that type should offer attractively low costs at entry into service. And Eurocopter, already a partner with KAI in developing the Surion transport under the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) program, is well positioned to link its AH-X offer to codevelopment of the KAH. Moreover, all of those manufacturers can offer aircraft designed for NATO standards, somewhat diminishing Boeing’s claimed advantage in high levels of interoperability.

The Defense Acquisition Program Agency is expected to issue a request for proposals in January 2012, with responses due by April, selection in July and a contract in October.

A key part of the mission is the destruction of North Korean special forces attempting to infiltrate coastal or land borders, says an industry executive. The KAH, replacing OH-6s and AH-1s, will perform a broader close support and reconnaissance role. Under the influence of the industry ministry, called the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, it will be designed with a cabin of up to eight seats so it can be easily transformed into a civil transport. Marketed internationally with the Surion, it would help establish a South Korean helicopter export industry.

A Boeing executive says the company is not interested in taking a risk-sharing role on the KAH. So even if the company wins AH-X, KAI, the selected South Korean manufacturer, will have to work with another partner, such as Eurocopter, for the airframe and dynamics of KAH.

The transfer of Apache structural work to KAI’s plant here is emblematic of the country’s mastery of manufacturing and helps explain its determination to move on to developing aircraft. A Boeing official says the Korean company hit quality targets almost from the beginning of its Apache program. Judged against such metrics as tolerances, finish and precision of fasteners, the helicopter bodies were delivered to an unusually high standard, he says.

Airframe production is due to rise to five from three a month as the remanufacturing of U.S. Army Apaches ramps up. A KAI official says the company has the workers and space for the expansion but will need new tools. It plans to design some that it expects will cut production costs.

So far in the program it has introduced tools for making subassemblies that are positioned vertically instead of horizontally, as before. They are easier to work with and save space, says a KAI production engineer.

Photo: Bradley Perrett

23-09-11, 02:44 AM
Joint mutirole helo program in for wild ride

By John Reed Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 4:30 pm

RIDLEY PARK, PA. — While still alive, the Pentagon’s effort to field a new generation of light, medium and heavy choppers under the Joint Multirole Helicopter effort is in for a “roller coaster” ride as budget planners choose which programs to kill and which ones to fund in the coming years, according to the Army’s top aircraft buyer.

“Everybody’s committed to it, but the dollars needed, that’s gonna be a roller coaster, to be quite honest with you,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby, the Army’s top helo buyer, on Wednesday when asked by sister site Defense Tech about the status of JMR.

Crosby went on to say that Maj. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, chief of the Army’s aviation branch, has “painted a vision to go for it” and that “there was just a letter sent in by all of the industry partners on the Joint Vertical Lift task force — all committed to it — so that’s a big step in supporting it, as well. I think everyone sees the need for it and [shares] that passion. The struggle is going to be to keep it funded, let’s just be honest.”

The Joint Multirole Helicopter plans call for development of brand new light, medium, heavy and “ultra”- sized choppers that will be “breakthrough technology” for the U.S. helo industry which has largely been refining 50-to-30-year old designs instead of fielding new birds.

Regardless of what happens to the effort to develop brand new choppers, the Army is going to have to look at replacing the F-model Chinooks with what Crosby thinks will probably be an H-model around 2025. While the service’s aviation modernization accounts fared “pretty well” in upcoming budget plans, the Army will still have to scale back its acquisition ambitions due to shrinking budgets.

The descision we’ll have to make is, do we do an H-model [Chinook] or do we try and find a new airplane? I think the reality will be what we can afford and looking at that to determine with our industry partners what the next step is. My prediction is, and this is simply my opinion, is that the financial status that we’re going to have in our country and our Defense Department is going to force us … to take an appetite suppressor and what that means is that we’re going to have to take some risk in some areas.

In the short term, the service will move forward with plans to buy 155 more CH-47Fs under five year contract that’s set to be awarded in January of 2013, and it will hustle to secure similar multiyear contracts for new Black Hawks and Apache choppers, according to Crosby. The trick here will be ensuring that the multi-years garner enough savings so as to convince budgeteers that they warrant locking away billions of dollars for five year blocks when there will be other important programs in need of scant Pentagon dollars, said the general. Though he did admit that he may have to “accept what they tell me that the budget realities are.”

The Army is also going to figure out how to recapitalize its aging fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warrior armed scout helos starting sometime in the middle of the decade.

Jean Chamberlin, vice president of Boeing’s mobility division, told reporters here that the company plans to submit a bid for the 155-chopper contract in November. That proposal is expected to offer savings of 10-percent over what it would cost to buy the 155 Chinooks with single-year contracts spread out over five years, according to Chamberlin. Crosby, who was standing next to Chamberlin, chimed in to say with a smile that he’d prefer the deal to gave him 15-percent savings.

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/09/22/joint-mutirole-helo-program-in-for-wild-ride/#ixzz1YjR6rjwF

29-09-11, 12:56 PM
Helitech 2011: Guimbal marks milestone and first UK delivery

September 29, 2011

Bruno Guimbal, the engineer behind the Cabri G2 light helicopter, has used the Helitech exhibition in Duxford to mark the company's first delivery to the UK.

Guimbal officially handed over Aircraft 1028 to its new owners, the Kemble-based Cotswold Helicopter Centre, at Helitech 2011 before signing up another distributor, Denmark-based Air Service Vamdrup, which has become the eighth distributor of the aircraft.

Speaking to Shephard, Guimbal said he had high hopes for the Cabri in the UK. Guimbal is aiming his aircraft at the light helicopter market, where the Robinson R22 and R44 dominate.

'When I first designed the Cabri, I saw the British market as an important one as it is already a big market for Robinsons, at least three times bigger than the French market,’ he said.

‘The next big milestone for us will be when we are seen and people think of us as the reference light helicopter in the market,’ he added.

Guimbal also said that as worldwide sales increased, he was learning valuable lessons about aircraft support and parts.

He has already had some success with 28 deliveries, including two to Australia, two to New Zealand and six to Germany. The aircraft are being used for private flying and flight training while a customer in the Netherlands has been contracted to fly pipeline inspection sorties.

One company, Germany-based Heli-Aviation, has ordered a further two aircraft following success and high levels of utilisation on two examples they already own. The pair have flown some 1,500 hours in 14 months.

The company built 12 aircraft in 2010, 13 so far in 2011 and will be able to build two per month in 2012 with a staff of 25 at the firm's Les Milles plant in Southern France.

The company is continuing to work with Eurocopter on a UAV conversion of the Cabri called the Orka. Eurocopter has a 51% stake in the Orka while Guimbal holds the other 49%. No orders have been forthcoming so far.

Tony Osborne, Duxford

30-09-11, 02:08 AM
AVX Wins JMR Helo Study Contract

Sep 29, 2011

By Graham Warwick graham_warwick@aviationweek.com

AVX Aircraft, a small Texas company staffed largely by former Bell engineers, has won a U.S. Army contract to study a potential replacement for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter.

AVX joins Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky in conducting 18-month configuration analysis and trade studies for the Joint Multi Role (JMR) program, which aims to fly two competing rotorcraft demonstrators in 2017.

No further awards are anticipated, says the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, which is managing the JMR technology demonstration program.

Under its contract, the Forth Worth-based company will identify technologies and develop concepts for both a demonstrator and an objective medium-utility rotorcraft that could enter service in the 2025-30 time frame.

AVX’s design will feature a coaxial rotor and ducted fans for propulsion and control — a similar configuration to that being proposed by the company to upgrade the Army’s Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior to meet its Armed Aerial Scout requirement.

Bell Boeing is studying a tiltrotor, Boeing is looking at a range of configurations and Sikorsky is evaluating an advanced helicopter, tiltrotor and a compound helicopter using its X2 high-speed coaxial-rotor configuration.

The study contracts are each worth around $4 million, with the major manufacturers matching the government funding for a total of $8 million. “We will be close to that,” with funds from the company and nine industry partners, says Ian Brown, AVX director of program management.

AVX also is talking to industry partners and private investors about funding a demonstrator for the OH-58D upgrade. This would take a commercial Bell 206L and fit it with coaxial rotors, ducted fans and new transmissions.

The demonstrator could be flying within 18 months of go-ahead, Brown says, and would be flown for about a year to validate the configuration being offered to the Army. A 206-based design also could find application in the commercial market, he says.

AVX Aircraft Concept


A Defense Technology Blog

JMR - Tiny AVX Joins the Big Boys

Posted by Graham Warwick at 9/29/2011 3:26 PM CDT

Fort Worth, Texas-based AVX Aircraft is the mysterious fourth team to win a $4 million contract from the U.S. Army to study concepts for the Joint Multi Role (JMR) medium replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk.

Concept: AVX Aircraft

AVX, staffed largely by former Bell Helicopter employees, is best known for its proposal to meet the US Army's Armed Aerial Scout requirement by upgrading its OH-58D/F Kiowa Warriors with a coaxial rotors and ducted fans, which would replace the tail rotor and provide both control and propulsion.

AVX is still pursuing the OH-58 upgrade, and working to corral funds from industry partners and private investors to build a demonstrator, but the JMR contract is the first time it finds itself head-to-head against the big players. Three other 18-month configuration analysis and trade study contracts have been awarded by the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate: to Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky.

Under the cost-sharing contracts, the companies will identify and prioritize technologies to meet the Army's desired attributes (which include a speed of at least 200kt), and develop concepts for both an objective JMR medium rotorcraft that could enter service in 2025-30 and a technology demonstrator that could fly in 2017.

30-09-11, 02:23 AM
AVX Wins JMR Helo Study Contract

Sep 29, 2011

By Graham Warwick graham_warwick@aviationweek.com

AVX Aircraft, a small Texas company staffed largely by former Bell engineers, has won a U.S. Army contract to study a potential replacement for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter.

AVX joins Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky in conducting 18-month configuration analysis and trade studies for the Joint Multi Role (JMR) program, which aims to fly two competing rotorcraft demonstrators in 2017.

No further awards are anticipated, says the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, which is managing the JMR technology demonstration program.

Under its contract, the Forth Worth-based company will identify technologies and develop concepts for both a demonstrator and an objective medium-utility rotorcraft that could enter service in the 2025-30 time frame.

AVX’s design will feature a coaxial rotor and ducted fans for propulsion and control — a similar configuration to that being proposed by the company to upgrade the Army’s Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior to meet its Armed Aerial Scout requirement.

Bell Boeing is studying a tiltrotor, Boeing is looking at a range of configurations and Sikorsky is evaluating an advanced helicopter, tiltrotor and a compound helicopter using its X2 high-speed coaxial-rotor configuration.

The study contracts are each worth around $4 million, with the major manufacturers matching the government funding for a total of $8 million. “We will be close to that,” with funds from the company and nine industry partners, says Ian Brown, AVX director of program management.

AVX also is talking to industry partners and private investors about funding a demonstrator for the OH-58D upgrade. This would take a commercial Bell 206L and fit it with coaxial rotors, ducted fans and new transmissions.

The demonstrator could be flying within 18 months of go-ahead, Brown says, and would be flown for about a year to validate the configuration being offered to the Army. A 206-based design also could find application in the commercial market, he says.

AVX Aircraft Concept


A Defense Technology Blog

JMR - Tiny AVX Joins the Big Boys

Posted by Graham Warwick at 9/29/2011 3:26 PM CDT

Fort Worth, Texas-based AVX Aircraft is the mysterious fourth team to win a $4 million contract from the U.S. Army to study concepts for the Joint Multi Role (JMR) medium replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk.

Concept: AVX Aircraft

AVX, staffed largely by former Bell Helicopter employees, is best known for its proposal to meet the US Army's Armed Aerial Scout requirement by upgrading its OH-58D/F Kiowa Warriors with a coaxial rotors and ducted fans, which would replace the tail rotor and provide both control and propulsion.

AVX is still pursuing the OH-58 upgrade, and working to corral funds from industry partners and private investors to build a demonstrator, but the JMR contract is the first time it finds itself head-to-head against the big players. Three other 18-month configuration analysis and trade study contracts have been awarded by the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate: to Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky.

Under the cost-sharing contracts, the companies will identify and prioritize technologies to meet the Army's desired attributes (which include a speed of at least 200kt), and develop concepts for both an objective JMR medium rotorcraft that could enter service in 2025-30 and a technology demonstrator that could fly in 2017.

And there-in lies the result of all the hard work the office of the secretary of the Army has been doing on procurement in the last 18 months. Dah dah, fair and open competition.

This is a bit of a watershed moment guys



04-10-11, 02:04 PM
Eurocopter Innovation Puts Focus On Safety with World’s First Flight of A Hybrid Helicopter Combining an Internal Combustion Engine and An Electric Motor

(Source: Eurocopter; issued October 04, 2011)

Another watershed moment.........?

MARIGNANE, France --- Eurocopter has successfully tested a hybrid helicopter that combines a turboshaft internal combustion engine with an electric motor for a world premiere, marking a new milestone in its innovation roadmap that opens the way for further enhancements in rotary-wing aircraft safety.

For this initial breakthrough in exploring the hybrid concept, Eurocopter is using the supplemental electric system to increase maneuverability of a single-engine helicopter during an autorotation landing – which is performed by helicopters in the event of a main engine failure.

The demonstrator helicopter is a production version of Eurocopter’s highly successful light single-engine AS350, which has been equipped with a supplementary electric motor. In the event of an engine failure, the electric motor provides power to the rotor, allowing a pilot to control the helicopter very easily during the descent to a safe touchdown. The next step is to bring this concept to maturity and evaluate its implementation on Eurocopter’s series production helicopters.

“Eurocopter’s research and development efforts are used every day to push the frontiers by increasing helicopter safety and performance for the benefit of our customers, and we are proud to have brought the first helicopter equipped with an internal combustion engine and electric propulsion system to flight,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter President and CEO. “Hybrid propulsion is an important element of Eurocopter’s innovation roadmap in developing the next generation of helicopters. It offers new opportunities for improvements in safety, along with the potential for reducing fuel consumption and emissions.”

The AS350 hybrid demonstrator has its highly compact electric motor and lithium ion polymer battery installed in the center area of the helicopter. Electronic controls enable precise deployment of power delivered by the electric motor during the period of autorotation.

Eurocopter’s AS350 is one of the most successful helicopters, with the more than 4,000 aircraft in service worldwide having logged more than a million flight hours as of 2010. It excels in hot conditions and very high altitudes, holding the record as the only helicopter to have landed on top of Mount Everest.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of 4.8 billion Euros, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.


04-10-11, 03:53 PM
A bit more on this..............

Eurocopter Reveals Hybrid-Helo Flight Trials

Oct 4, 2011

By Robert Wall wall@aviationweek.com

Eurocopter is finishing up flight trials of a hybrid helicopter concept that should aid pilots during autorotation and, potentially, ease regulatory concerns about single-engine helicopter operations.

Eurocopter has quietly been working on the technology that adds an electric motor and power supply to an AS350, with flight trials underway at its Marignane headquarters in southern France since July. Flight test personnel had enough confidence in the system to begin autorotation trials on the first flight, says Eurocopter’s technical director, Jean-Michel Billig.

The motor, which is powered by a chargeable lithium ion polymer battery, automatically kicks in when the turbine fails to minimize the loss of rotor speed. “It gives the pilot some time to react and keep control of the helicopter,” Billig says.

A second power input comes just before landing. The overall goal is to relieve pilot stress during the two most critical periods of an autorotation.

Eurocopter officials are guarded about elements of the technology, including the exact weight of the motor and the power output it can provide. Billig says it is adequate to assure safe touchdown and keep control of the horizontal speed and rate of descent.

With the basic technology demonstrated, much of the focus now is on whether the system can be engineered to be viable in a commercial operational setting. That means improving production maturity of the hybrid system, bringing the motor and battery weight down, and determining whether the supply chain is adequate for a commercial offering. Billig is optimistic that those boxes will be checked off in the coming months and that Eurocopter can then take a decision of how, when and on what rotorcraft the technology can be introduced. “It is not a matter of years,” he asserts.

But long-term, Eurocopter has ambitions beyond just aiding safety. Further evolutions of the hybrid technology could allow the electric motor to kick in at certain points in flight to reduce fuel burn and, consequently, carbon dioxide output, effectively performing some of the functions of a hybrid system now seen on cars.

The focus is squarely on single-engine helicopters, for Eurocopter the EC120, AS350, EC135. One goal is to also give regulators a greater comfort factor with single-engine helicopters, to expand their commercial appeal.

05-10-11, 01:10 AM
US Army considers Texas start-up’s design for Black Hawk, Apache replacement

By: Stephen Trimble Washington DC

8 hours ago


A Texas-based start-up will challenge three rotorcraft industry giants for a possible US Army contract to replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache with a single, high-speed aircraft.

In late September, the US Army awarded the last of four study contracts for the joint multi-role (JMR) programme to AVX, a two-year-old company launched by former Bell Helicopter engineers.

In June, the army selected separate bids from Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky to participate in the same study. Over the next 18 months, the four companies will deliver a series of reports on design and cost options for each of their concepts. The army plans to select two bidders in fiscal year 2014 to build prototypes that demonstrate the performance of their aircraft designs.

AVX is proposing a new airframe with a speed of around 200kt (370km/h) that is powered by an 18.3m-diameter (60ft-diameter) coaxial rotor for vertical lift, and two ducted fans for horizontal thrust.


It is similar in concept to a standing proposal to the army by AVX to upgrade the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior with a coaxial-rotor, ducted-fan propulsion system. AVX is currently modifying a Bell 206 Jet Ranger with the new propulsion system. It has also unveiled concepts for applying the coaxial-rotor, ducted-fan configuration to the civil market with the AVX 815 and 825.

For the JMR requirement, the army wants an aircraft with a minimum speed of 170kt that can carry a 2,720kg (6,000lb) internal load.

AVX's concept would require two engines generating 4,000shp (2,984kW) each, said Troy Gaffey, president and chief engineer. The proposal depends on the development of the 3,000shp advanced affordable turbine engine (AATE), Gaffey said. He added that the AATE, which is in competition between General Electric and a Honeywell/Pratt & Whitney team, should be scalable to 4,000shp.

06-10-11, 01:18 PM
Ferranti Technologies offers brownout-beating system for UK helicopters

By: Craig Hoyle London

54 minutes ago


Ferranti Technologies hopes to agree a deal with the UK Ministry of Defence to enhance the situational awareness of helicopter pilots operating in degraded visual environments, such as brownouts caused by dust or sand while taking off and landing.

The pilots of most of the UK's current battlefield support helicopter types use an Elbit Systems DNVG-24T helmet-mounted display to see aircraft instrumentation data while looking out of the cockpit. If introduced, UK-based Ferranti's low visibility landing (LVL) system would upgrade the current system's signal data converter to also show three-dimensional conformal symbology.

A pilot would select and reconnoitre a landing site before switching on the LVL system, which displays a series of "towers" on the helmet-mounted display image.

Changes to the appearance of these would depict lateral drift and speed and altitude deviations, when other visual cues are lost.

"The aircrew can fly and hover the helicopter without outside visual references while immediately recognising uncommanded aircraft movement," said Ferranti.

© Crown Copyright

The LVL technology is informed by combining feeds from the host aircraft's inertial global positioning system equipment and radar altimeter with digital terrain elevation data from a ground mapping database.

"We are not taking anything out from the aircraft, so it will be a relatively easy installation task," said Shmuel Maman, avionics and mission systems business unit director for Ferranti Technologies.

The modification has already been demonstrated in flight using a Westland Lynx and with a simulator for the Royal Air Force's AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin (video below), to meet a proposed urgent operational requirement (UOR) deal.

Uploaded by Ferranti1994 on Oct 13, 2010
Ferranti Technologies demonstrate advanced HMD symbology enabling helicopter landings in difficult low visibility conditions.

The service's Merlin and Boeing CH-47 Chinook transports are the main intended recipients of the enhancement.

Maman said Ferranti is now in "very deep discussion with the MoD", and that equipment deliveries could be made within 12-18 months of a UOR deal being signed.

The LVL capability would also be compatible for use with the Elbit integrated helmet and display system employed by pilots of the British Army's Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopters.

11-10-11, 01:10 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

New Helos At AUSA

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 10/10/2011 12:35 PM CDT

New at AUSA -- a full line-up of proposed Sikorsky rotorcraft based on Sikorsky's X2 high-speed coaxial concept. First, the S-97 demonstrator, which the company still plans to fly in 2014 and that corresponds to the Army's advanced scout requirement.

Next, a UH-60 Blackhawk-sized aircraft, corresponding to the utility end of the Army's very long-term Joint Multirole Rotorcraft requirement:

And sharing the same rotors, transmission and power, an attack helicopter. Very impressive, although I wonder how many old-school big-wing AIM-9s will be around when this critter enters service.

Finally, a UAV -- with the X2 rotor system, but lacking the trademark pusher propeller, indicating an emphasis on lift and loiter rather than speed.

So far, there are three teams set up for the JMR program -- Sikorsky, a Boeing-only team and a Bell-Boeing tilt-rotor team. An engineer from the last-named says that the design will be very different in detail from the V-22.

The snag with JMR is that full-scale development is not due to start until well into the 2020s -- which makes sense in view of the fact that the Army is still taking delivery of new, or good-as-new, AH-64 Block IIIs, UH/MH-60Ms and CH-47Fs. However, the US helicopter industry needs some R&D work, or the teams to develop a replacement will simply not be there in a dozen years' time.

Also on show here is Bell's concept of an OH-58 Block II, a further evolution of the OH-58. The Army is already developing the OH-58F, with new sensors and avionics -- including the CSP sensor/designator package from the Gray Eagle UAV, located under the nose and replacing the Kiowa Warrior's mast-mounted sight. Seven EMD aircraft are being built, with the first to fly in late 2012. An artist's concept of the OH-58F appeared in a paper presented to Defense IQ's Close Air Support conference in London last month.

The Block II builds on that with major changes to reach the Army's goal of operations at 6,000 feet and 95F. A new engine -- either a Rolls-Royce offering or a Honeywell HTS900 -- delivers over 1,000 shp through a new transmission to new rotor blades.

11-10-11, 02:57 AM
AUSA 2011: Sikorsky bets on X2 technology

October 10, 2011

Sikorsky is betting heavily on its X2 coaxial configuration as it looks to meet the military rotorcraft needs of the future, with the compound helicopter technology a big feature of its exhibit at the AUSA exhibition in Washington DC.

With Sikorsky eyeing the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) project and the longer-term Joint Multirole (JMR) requirement, the company used the show to display models in the coaxial configuration scaled for a variety of roles, as well as the X2 Technology Demonstrator aircraft itself.

Steve Engebretson, Sikorsky’s director of AAS, said the company’s belief in the future applications of the configuration underlined its decision to self-fund development of the S97 Raider prototype, with a first flight expected in 2014.

The aircraft, which is being developed to meet the AAS requirement, passed an internal preliminary design review at the end of September and has now moved into detailed design.

‘The aim of the S97 is to take the technology that was proven for the X2 and develop a military prototype that can prove it is suitable for the military applications,’ Engebretson said.

‘We didn’t do any manoeuvres with the X2 but the Raider will give us a chance to go around and show what it can do and that as well as the speed attributes it retains all the unique capabilities of the helicopter.’

The aircraft the company used to validate the configuration, the X2 Technology Demonstrator, flew 23 test flights and achieved a maximum cruise speed of 253 knots in level flight before being retired earlier this year.

The Raider features the same twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller, and will also incorporate fly-by-wire flight controls, hub drag reduction, active vibration control, and an integrated auxiliary propulsion system.

Sikorsky has also received an 18-month configuration trades analysis (CTA) contract from the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate to investigate the configuration’s suitability for the JMR project, which is initially looking for replacements for the Apache attack and Black Hawk utility helicopters.

Army planners envisage an aircraft that will enter service sometime between 2025 and 2030, with prototypes flying before 2020.

Engebretson was not able to comment on the scope of the CTA but noted that the company was looking towards an aircraft with better than 10K/95 performance and 240 knots cruise speed.

‘We recently did an operational assessment of the design in the medevac role and found that the army could cover Afghanistan with half the number of aircraft they use for the mission today,' he added.

Tony Skinner, Washington DC

11-10-11, 01:26 PM
AUSA2011: Boeing displays ideas for next-gen rotorcraft

By Stephen Trimble on October 10, 2011 6:55 PM

The US Army wants to buy a new family of high speed rotorcraft by 2030. Four companies have been awarded study contracts by the Army Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD) -- AVX Corp, Bell Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky.

Three of the four concepts were on display in the exhibit hall of the Association of the US Army's (AUSA) annual convention in Washington DC. It was especially nice to see Boeing's future rotorcraft concepts, which we had not seen before this event.

Bottom-left image seems similar to the Piasecki X-49 Speed Hawk, and we're told the pusher propeller can swivel for anti-torque capability.

The next image shows a growth version of a conventional CH-47 Chinook.

The third image from left to right shows Boeing's futuristic DiscRotor concept, which is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA.)

The upper-right image is a second-generation tiltrotor by Bell Boeing, which we'll write more about later today.

11-10-11, 02:34 PM
New Generation AW169 Helicopter Lands in London

(Source: AgustaWestland; issued October 10, 2011)

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that a full scale mock-up of the all new AW169 twin engine light intermediate helicopter is being exhibited in London this week (10th to 14th October), in front of the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills headquarters in Victoria Street.

The 4.5 ton AW169, launched in July 2010 at the Farnborough International Air Show, is scheduled to fly in 2012 with deliveries to customers starting in 2015. The AW169 is the only new generation helicopter in its weight category in decades and AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK is extensively involved in the design, development and manufacturing programme, following a £22 million loan announced in July 2011 by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The AW169 programme marks the beginning of a new era for the Yeovil plant with a move into the commercial helicopter business. Commercial helicopter work will become an increasing important part of AgustaWestland’s UK business alongside its business with the UK Ministry of Defence and military export customers.

The AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities. The AW169 incorporates several new technology features to provide the highest levels of safety and operational benefits for its customers. New generation technologies are incorporated in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems.

The AW169 is set to be the most advanced and cost effective helicopter in its class for air ambulance, search and rescue, law enforcement, passenger and offshore transport, as well as various utility missions including offshore wind farm support. AgustaWestland and its many suppliers in the UK will play a major role in the design, development and manufacture of the rotor blades and intermediate and tail gearboxes and tail rotor hub, thus keeping Yeovil as a world centre of excellence in these key rotorcraft technological areas. AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility will also undertake flight testing with one of the four AW169 prototypes and lead the development of the training infrastructure and courseware for aircrew and ground crew training.

The AW169 has become a central element of AgustaWestland UK’s diversification strategy to protect and grow the skills and capabilities required for a strong helicopter industry in the UK. The commercial helicopter market is a new sector for UK advanced manufacturing, with the UK helicopter market being the largest in Europe.

The UK commercial helicopter market, in both the public and private sectors, will also now be able to purchase a helicopter with a UK pedigree, with a full suite of support capabilities available onshore. AgustaWestland is forecasting sales of nearly 1000 AW169 helicopters worldwide over a 25 year period.

The AW169 indeed has achieved a very positive response from helicopter operators around the world with a significant number of firm orders already logged both in UK and worldwide for a range of applications. The Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) signed a preliminary sale contract in July for two AW169 helicopters specially configured for the WNAA’s air ambulance mission requirements. Bond Aviation Group and AgustaWestland have recently signed an MoU that will see both companies work together to establish a multi-year contract, which includes the purchase of AW169s for various missions.

Other AW169 customers announced include INAER in Europe, Capitale Helicopters in Canada and Falcon Aviation Services in the UAE.


18-10-11, 04:17 AM
How to make a Chinook out-run an Osprey

By Stephen Trimble on October 14, 2011 6:49 PM

The US Army wants helicopters to go faster. We don't know yet if army is willing or able to pay for that extra speed, but the desire is certainly there. Look around the exhibit hall of the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA) annual convention earlier this week, and the evidence was everywhere. On display were next-generation tiltrotors, and every combination of coaxial rotor-pusher-prop or ducted fan. Every idea was based on overcoming the inherent tendency of the retreating blade of a conventional rotor to stall after about 170kt.

But Boeing added yet a new category to the speed discussion. If you looked carefully around its booth, a video on a loop showed a new kind of high-speed tandem rotor. Boeing had actually shown a previous version of the unloaded lift offset rotor (ULOR) concept at the American Helicopter Society safety forum in 2008. Since that event, the company has added two turboprops for extra thrust in forward flight.

But the key technology of this concept are the "wings" placed over each rotor. Boeing actually describes these devices as non-rotating blades, which augment the flapping effect of the hinged blades to overcome retreating blade stall at higher speeds than a conventional rotor.

24-10-11, 11:26 AM
KAI, Eurocopter propose naval variant of Surion

By: Greg Waldron Seoul

6 hours ago


Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter have proposed a Korea Naval Helicopter (KNH) based on the co-developed Surion.

The proposed naval variant would be equipped to serve aboard warships with a displacement of 2,500t or more, said KAI at the Seoul air show. It would perform roles such as anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and maritime surveillance.

The KNH would be developed by KAI, Eurocopter and Israel's Elbit Systems, with this contingent on receiving orders from the Republic of Korea Navy, said KAI.

The navy's interest in the KNH is unclear. Seoul's Defense Acquisition and Procurement Administration is expected to issue requests for proposals early next year for eight shipborne helicopters, but KAI said the proposed KNH will not be put forward for this requirement.

© Greg Waldron/Flightglobal

At the show, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky pitched the MH-60R and AgustaWestland the AW159 Lynx Wildcat as a replacement for Seoul's Lynx 99 shipborne helicopters. AgustaWestland said that altogether Seoul could require up to 40 maritime helicopters in the 6t class.

At 8.7t, the Surion is considerably larger than this. What is more, Seoul's warships are optimised for handling the Lynx. AgustaWestland said its AW159 could land on a ship without any modifications being made to the vessel.

As for export markets, KAI said the KNH could be pitched to India, which will need to replace its Westland Sea Kings, as well as southeast Asian countries.

"KNH is versatile, flexible and can be re-configured very rapidly for new roles while embarked," said Eurocopter.

"Its state-of-the-art avionics are future-proofed to permit the aircraft to adapt to new roles, tasks or threats.

"The standard equipment fit and spacious cabin that easily carries full boarding teams make it an ideal aircraft that meets the needs of maritime security worldwide."

01-11-11, 01:04 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

JMR Tech Demo - the Concepts

Posted by Graham Warwick at 10/31/2011 4:35 PM CDT

Now that all four teams are under contract to conduct configuration trades and analyses for the US Army's Joint Multi Role (JMR) technology demonstrator program, we have a glimpse of what they are studying for the JMR medium utility (UH-60 Black Hawk replacement) concept.

The update comes from a presentation at an American Helicopter Society International conference last week by Ned Chase, platform techonology division chief at the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD).

All graphics: AATD

First we have Bell Boeing (above), not unsurprisingly focusing on a tiltrotor (the annotations show the design variables they are trading in an effort to improve performance and reduce cost). This shows a conventional tiltrotor, but Bell Boeing is also studying dual-plane proprotors for higher rotor solidity and hot-and-high performance.

Then we have Boeing (above), which is evaluating four initial configurations (clockwise from top right - coaxial-rotor compound, conventional compound, tiltrotor and advanced helicopter). It will down-select to the best configuration at the end of 18-month cost-sharing study (which began at the end of June).

Sikorsky (above) is studying three configurations (clockwise from top - tiltrotor, advanced helicopter and X2-based coaxial-rotor compound) and will carry all three three designs through to conceptual design of both the objective JMR medium utility and the technology demonstrator.

And finally tiny AVX Aircraft (above), which is leading an as-yet undisclosed industry team studying a coaxial-rotor, ducted-fan compound helicopter. AVX was last to be signed up, in late September, and has 15 months to complete its study.

The goal of the configuration trades and analyses phase is to provide AATD with recommendations on design concepts and technologies for a medium utility JMR that could enter service by 2030. These will help the Army establish the battlefield payoff of specific vehicle attributes such as flying faster than 200kt, and evaluate the cost versus capability of candidate configurations.

The studies will also result in a performance specification for the JMR technology demonstrators. That spec is scheduled to be available by mid-FY2013, when Phase 1 of the tech demo - air vehicle development - is planned to begin. First flights of two competing demonstrator are planned for mid-FY2017.

Phase 2 of the tech demo cover mission system development. This is planned to begin by mid-FY2015 following the definition and laboratory-evaluation of an open "joint common architecure" (JCA) for the avionics. First flights of competing mission-system demonstrators using the JCA are planned for early FY2019.

AATD's intent is to have all the air-vehicle and mission-system technologies to a maturity of at least TRL 6 by the end of FY2020, ready to enter full-scale development of an objective JMR platform, most likely a UH-60 Black Hawk replacement. Funding permitting, that is - the Army admits its tech demo funding plans assume heavy industry cost sharing.

02-11-11, 05:31 PM
US Army to brief on Joint Multi-Role project

02 November 2011 - 15:26 by Tony Skinner

The US Army is reaching out to industry as it continues to shape its Joint Multi-Role vision, with an industry conference planned for 18 November.

According to the army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD), the conference in Newport News, Virginia, will update industry on the current status of the JMR Technology Demonstrator (TD) programme.

‘It is clear that the capabilities demanded of the Department of Defense (DoD) future rotorcraft fleet cannot be achieved through incremental upgrades to the current fleet,’ the AATD said in a 2 November statement.

Under the JMR initiative, the DoD is looking to a family of vertical lift aircraft that includes multiple sizes/classes of vehicles to both meet future vertical lift needs and bring a level of commonality between platforms that does not exist today.

Four industry teams are currently working under 18-month ‘configuration trades analysis’ (CTA) contracts to define possible designs for the AATD. AVX, Bell-Boeing, Boeing and Sikorsky are looking at a variety of configurations, including conventional compound, coaxial-rotor compound, tiltrotor and advanced helicopter designs.

The project envisages an aircraft that will enter service sometime between 2025 and 2030, with prototypes flying before 2020. Two companies are expected to be chosen for a second phase to build two prototypes.

According to the AATD: ‘The desired vehicle attributes of the JMR family include: A scalable common core architecture; integrated aircraft survivability; speed of 170+ kts; a combat radius 424 km; vehicle performance at 6K/95 F; shipboard compatibility; improved fuel efficiency; improved supportability; and affordability, optionally manned capability, and commonality.’

The industry conference will have a particular focus on seeking feedback on the DoD’s ‘evolving plans’ for the Mission Systems Demonstration phase of the project.

03-11-11, 03:34 PM
World’s First Manned Flight with an Electric Multicopter

Posted on November 3, 2011 by The Editor

Uploaded by forschungsbuero on Oct 28, 2011

At the end of October 2011, Thomas Senkel of e-volo made the first manned flight with an e-powered multicopter at an airstrip in the southwest of Germany. The flight lasted one minute and 30 seconds, after which the constructor and test pilot stated: "The flight characteristics are good natured. Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot". This could be the future of flight, piloting a device as simple as a car.
More information: www.e-volo.com

At the end of October 2011, Thomas Senkel of e-volo made the first manned flight with an e-powered multicopter at an airstrip in the southwest of Germany. The flight lasted one minute and 30 seconds, after which the constructor and test pilot stated: “The flight characteristics are good natured. Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot”.

The e-volos sixteen propellers allow it to take off and land similar to a helicopter. It’s plus points compared to a helicopter are the simplicity of its engineered construction without complicated mechanics and its redundant engines. Should anything go wrong, e-volo can still safely land even if up to four of its sixteen motors should fail. Flight time can last between ten to thirty minutes, depending on the payload and the capacity of the lithium batteries. With an empty weight at 80 kg (including batteries), e-volo fits into the class of ultra-lights.

Unlike other helicopters or multi-rotors, e-volo can use a safety parachute, as there are no propellers blocking the deployment area above. The propellers create the full lift, and are also responsible for balancing the device on all three axes only by independent speed control of the motors. E-volo from the beginning has been designed entirely as an electrically powered device. Unlike the rotor of a helicopter, the propellers don’t have any pitch control and therefore no wear. These factors make the multicopter mechanically simple, with almost no maintenance necessary.

The automatic attitude and directional control are taken care of by multiple separate and mutually monitoring onboard computers, controlling the engines with the precise rotation speed necessary to fly this tri-axis device. A simple joystick allows the pilot to control the aircraft via a fly-by-wire system. Whether during vertical takeoff, in flight, or landing, the pilot has to pay little attention to minimum speed, stall, gas mixture control, pitch control or one of many other things that make conventional flight as challenging as it is.

This electrically driven system is quiet, clean and economically cost efficient. A one-hour flight would cost something near to 6 Euro for electricity. In addition, the device holds few parts, which could wear out, making maintenance intervals and cost low and far between.

The control firmware can be integrated with a sophisticated integrated GPS system or obstacle detection. As such, automated flight for predetermined points on a 3D map is possible. In addition to the relieving the pilot of strenuous navigational tasks, unmanned flight would be feasible similar to other devices (drones).

Possible applications: The main purpose for a single seat device would most likely be for air sports equipment and in the leisure sector. A professional application could be made in areas where helicopters are too big and expensive, for aerial photography or field inspection of large facilities (wind turbines, pipelines), areas where its flight capabilities (vertical take off, landing, and hovering) are of crucial importance. As a multi-seater it would also be conceivable to use for sightseeing flights, air ambulance, or air taxi.

A limiting factor is still the energy capacity of modern batteries. Longer flight times are achievable, with higher energy amounts. However during flight, less is more, as you carry the extra weight, successfully voiding the capability of extra batteries.

In any case, the next few years show a significant advancement in technology applicable to life and duration capabilities of batteries. With a current flight time of on average 20 minutes, future versions promise anywhere from an hour or more. A hybrid drive, in which a conventional internal combustion engine generates the necessary electrical power, would already show an hour-long flight time.

Source: Web Site

14-11-11, 02:48 PM
Quest Helicopters is launched at Dubai

publication date: Nov 13, 2011

author/source: Terry Spruce

Mike Creed with the Quest AVQ helicopter

Quest Helicopters has launched at the Dubai Air Show. The privately-owned company, headquartered in Dubai, UAE, is announcing plans to fund, develop, define and refine new technology for a family of innovative new light twin engine and twin rotor system helicopters.

Originally Dubbed "Project Q," the QUEST AVQ series will be the first civil helicopters to be assembled and manufactured in Umm Al Quwain in the UAE. Quest will build an assembly and production facility in the UAE, it aims to start production in 2014.

The UAE principals and investors in Quest Helicopters, a subsidiary of Quest Investments, have pledged an initial investment of up to $50 million in the initial programme. Quest's investment lends support to further develop the expertise of design bureau chief, Vlodomyr Udovenko, overseen by the Ukraine's Academy of science and technology. Collaboration on the project has been further bolstered by a proposed bilateral agreement between EASA and the Ukraine's Civil Aviation Authority enabling the new helicopters to be built with joint cooperation and a parallel certification programme. The helicopters will be powered by new engines from Progress DB/ Motor sich Ukraine, 2 x AI-450 M turbines with FADEC, delivering up to 465 shaft horse power (shp) per engine.

Additionally, Quest Investments has recently signed an MOU between Ukraine's Academy of Science and Abu Dhabi's Higher College of Technology and Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, to invest and develop specialist research into health, climate and other technological advancements.

The initial four-seat model, which is highly competitively priced at $2.95 million will have a range of 435 nm (700 kms), a maximum speed of 185 mph (295 kph), and a maximum endurance of 3.6 hours. The helicopter is expected to have a maximum take-off weight of 4,960lbs (2,250 kgs) and empty weight will be 1,300 kgs.

Quest has a pavilion and has a full size mock-up of the Quest AVQ with a VIP interior on display. The interior is designed by British company "Design Q", together with an actual prototype production capsule cabin.

Chief designer Volodomyr Udvenko said "I am delighted to have the opportunity to realise my dream with the Quest AVQ series of helicopters which will be utilising and incorporating unique technology in primary control and safety systems. Our initial prototype helicopter will be defining the technology as a test airframe and we expect the final production models to reflect many refinements in look and systems. If it were not for the vision of Quest's Chairman Mahmood Al Ansari and his board of directors we would not have the funding to develop this new technology.."

Commercial and deputy project director Mike Creed says "With this new family of helicopters we are pursuing a niche market with a design that combines the technological advances of the east, with many innovative refinements from the west as well as adding some exciting commercial enhancements. The result is "Quest's AVQ" series of light twin engine Helicopters which offer a low acquisition cost, robust airframe with "cutting edge" new technology, low maintenance together with low operational costs."

The goal is to produce 20 aircraft in the first year of production, rising to 40 in the third year, working toward a five-year initial plan to certification and production.

14-11-11, 02:50 PM
Dubai Airshow 2011: Sikorsky builds backlog for International Black Hawk

14 November 2011 - 10:17 by Tony Osborne in Dubai, UAE

Sikorsky is preparing to ramp-up production of its S-70i International Black Hawk, according to company officials at the Dubai Airshow.

The company has so far delivered four aircraft – three to the Saudi Ministry of the Interior, the aircraft's launch customer, and a single example to the Mexican state of Jalisco. The Saudi examples have already been used to support security operations in Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage.

The ramp-up will see production of the aircraft, which takes place at PZL-Mielec's plant in Poland, increase to 20 helicopters per year with a backlog building for the aircraft aimed at customers flying a mix of military and parapublic missions.

'Sales have not been as strong as we originally hoped,' said Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky Military System told Shephard. 'But there is a lot of interest in the product from Asia and the Middle East in the aircraft.'

The United Arab Emirates is now one of the largest operators of the Black Hawk in the world and other operators include Saudi Arabia whose land forces use the type for transport and utility.

A UH-60M deal is on the cards as part of the major Saudi helicopter order announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in October 2010, along with AH-64Ds and AH-6is produced by Boeing.

Maurer also revealed extensive interest in the region in the MH-60R 'Romeo' Seahawk. Qatar has already requested six examples through the FMS system to replace its small fleet of Westland-built Sea King Commandos while both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are also looking at the type.

Sikorsky continues to build the SH-60B Seahawk and has recently delivered a fourth aircraft to the Brazilian Navy, with the possibility the government may request more such aircraft.

In the meantime, the company is continuing to build the UH-60M for the US Army but cites the example of Sweden which ordered 15 aircraft in May of this year.

'We were delighted with the Sweden contract,' said Maurer, 'Selling the Black Hawk into Europe was always going to be challenge, so the Swedish order was encouraging.'

The current production backlog means that customers that order the UH-60M now would normally face a lead-time of 36 months before receiving their aircraft.

However, as Sweden required a batch of aircraft within months of the order, Sikorsky, which builds one UH-60M for each working day of the year, was able to shift US Army production and build the Swedish Black Hawks, with the first six built and due to be delivered before the end of 2011.

Meanwhile, Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) used the airshow to announce the signing of a follow-on contract with the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC).

The contract will see the RSLFAC's fleet of 12 UH-60A Black Hawks upgraded to the UH-60L configuration. The upgrade includes a T700 to T701D engine upgrade, upgraded flight controls, and avionics as well as the installation of a new aircraft flight control computer (AFCC).

15-11-11, 11:41 PM
Sikorsky to Perform A-to-L Upgrades on Royal Saudi Land Forces' BLACK HAWK Helicopters

U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawks lift off at Cairo West Air Base, Egypt.

NOT absolutely sure BUT I think this is the first major Overseas contract for this Upgrade. the pity is we don't do the same........

08:07 GMT, November 15, 2011 DUBAI Air Show, United Arab Emirates | Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) announced today the signing of a follow-on contract with the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC) to upgrade its fleet of BLACK HAWK UH-60A helicopters to the more modern UH-60L aircraft configuration. SAS is the aftermarket division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The parties anticipate that as a result of this upgrade program the RSLFAC’s fleet of 12 UH-60A BLACK HAWK helicopters will benefit from improved performance, increased mission readiness, extended service life, and reduced maintenance and support costs.

“Our A-to-L conversion program for the UH-60A BLACK HAWK helicopters provides the Saudi Land Forces with a cost-effective option to extend the service life of their fleets while permitting better integration with newer BLACK HAWK helicopter models,” said David Adler, President of Sikorsky Aerospace Services.

Based on the success of the H-60 Helicopter Recapitalization and Upgrade Program for U.S. Army BLACK HAWK aircraft, the H-60 helicopter modernization program offers comprehensive fleet upgrades for Sikorsky’s global customers. The RSLFAC A-to-L conversion plan is the second international modernization program under contract with SAS.

The A-to-L upgrade program incorporates key improvements consisting of a T700 to T701D engine upgrade for increased power and reliability, and upgraded flight controls, avionics and instrument panel modifications. Additionally, each upgraded H-60 helicopter will be equipped with a new Aircraft Flight Control Computer (AFCC) as well as new wiring harnesses, a high speed shaft and a sealed lead acid battery.

29-11-11, 03:33 PM
New Russian Rotorcraft Created to Ensure Security at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

(Source: Russian Helicopters JSC; issued Nov. 29, 2011)

This new, slimmed down version of the Kamov Ka-226T helicopter is intended to facilitate medevac and other rescue missions by its ability to land in very constrained spaces. (RusHelo photo)

SOCHI, Russia --- New medevac, rescue, and firefighting rotorcraft of Russian make, built by enterprises of the Russian Helicopters holding company, a subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation Oboronprom, may take part in ensuring and enforcing security at the Winter Olympics in Russian seaside resort Sochi in 2014.

Such a conclusion was made after the Russian EMERCOM completed research training in November 2011 in Sochi, in the vicinity of Mamay tunnel and River Mzymta, while preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The rescuers worked on the prevention and possible ways of overcoming the aftermath of hypothetical natural and man-made emergencies during mass events at various Olympics facilities.

An experimental prototype of the new light multi-role Ka-226T took part in the training. It was developed by Kamov design bureau, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters. The prototype was employed in flyover monitoring in training areas near River Mzymta and Mamay tunnel for the first time. Thanks to its advanced design and compact coaxial rotors, the helicopter could land on a limited area (about 20 square metres) near a motorway tunnel and evacuated a nominal injured transported on a stretcher. Evacuation was after full touch-down, with engines running.

The absence of a tail rotor on the Ka-226T makes this model extremely apt and safe for evacuation, especially of people on stretchers who cannot get on the helicopter themselves.

The evacuation of the nominal injured went extremely well. The helicopter demonstrated its brilliant capabilities in training and sparked an interest among Russian EMERCOM specialists.

Other rotorcraft of Russian make took part in training apart from the Ka-226T. The new EMERCOM search and rescue helicopter Ka-32A11BC carried out an evacuation of nominal injured in hover mode – under the training legend they had been trapped by a sill flow in the vicinity of River Mzymta.

As of today, helicopters of Russian make, namely the Mi-8/17 and the Ka-32A11BC perform firefighting, medevac, and rescue operations for the Russian EMERCOM, and also take part in erecting key infrastructure for sports facilities in Sochi, as well as performing construction and installation jobs. Medium and heavy models of Russian rotorcraft are used to build major facilities, erect high-voltage power lines, install complex structures atop tall buildings and in mountainous areas.

The Ka-226T is the newest coaxial-rotor helicopter, equipped with two Arrius 2G turboshaft engines built by the French company Turbomeca, as well as the Russian VR-226N reduction-drive gearbox. As of today, this is the first time an Arrius 2G engine was installed on a coaxial helicopter. The solution ensures unprecedented flight safety of the machine: even with one engine it has the necessary maneuver output (750 hp). Modern power trains alongside the special crash-proof fuel system and shock-absorbing chairs make this helicopter one of the most eco-friendly and safe choices in its class.

The outstanding qualities of the Ka-226T rotor system, altitude, and maneuverability were proved during flight tests. One of the most important achievements of the Ka-226T, making it stand out from the competitors, is the practical ceiling of 7300 metres. The outstanding characteristics of the Ka-226T have also been a winning quality in mountainous regions and high-temperature climates, over sea and in highly congested cities, notwithstanding strong winds.

The rotorcraft does not demand hangar storage and is capable of working day and night in adverse weather, under varying winds and in temperatures from -50° to +50°С and 0—100% humidity. Landing gear design is allows landing on unprepared runways and operations from hard top helipads, including oil and gas rigs, as well as loose soil with densities down to 4 kgs/km².

The Ka-226T was developed by Kamov JSC, and is now manufactured by Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise (a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters). The helicopter has a MTOW of 4 tons with a useful load of 1.45 tons. The maximum speed is 230 km/h, and up to nine people, including two pilots, can be accommodated on board.

Varying cabin modules of the Ka-226T make one helicopter useful for various missions, including cargo and passenger transportation, patrol, construction, loading-unloading, as well as medevac and firefighting, search and rescue and evacuation operations.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is a subsidiary of UIC Oboronprom, which in turn is a part of Russian Technologies State Corporation. It controls the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company named after N.I. Sazykin, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM and Helicopter Service Company.


01-12-11, 01:41 AM
Eurocopter Joins Turkey's Light Helicopter Race


Published: 30 Nov 2011 11:44

ANKARA - Top European helicopter maker Eurocopter announced Wednesday that it will seek to become Turkey's key foreign partner in a program, worth more than $1 billion, to design, develop and manufacture hundreds of light utility helicopters, both military and civilian.

"We want to partner with Turkey in one of their top programs. The light utility helicopter program is a key project," said Thomas Hein, Eurocopter's vice president for sales and customer relations in Europe.

Light utility helicopters generally weigh between 4,500 and 5,500 kilograms. "We are developing our product range, and we would like to produce, with Turkey, a chopper from scratch," Hein said.

Under two multibillion-dollar contracts, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is co-producing with Italy's AgustaWestland 59 T-129 attack helicopters and jointly is making with Sikorsky Aircraft more than 100 T-70 utility helicopters, with a single copter weighing about 10,000 kilograms. To meet its heavy-lift helicopter needs, Ankara earlier this year signed a nearly $400 million contract with Boeing to buy six CH-47 Chinook choppers.

Therefore, light utility helicopters are the last major copter type Turkey wants to produce with a foreign company.

"In my personal view, all major helicopter producers in the world will seek this cooperation with Turkey," Hein said.

Formed in 1992 through the merger of the helicopter divisions of France's Aerospatiale and Germany's DASA, Eurocopter sold 20 AS 532 Cougar utility helicopters to Turkey's military and then co-produced with TAI 30 other Cougars. But since 2006, the company has been silent about major Turkish helicopter deals, and Wednesday's remarks by Hein, who is responsible for ties with Ankara, means Eurocopter is back in the Turkish market.

Although it mainly is a defense project, the light utility program also will manufacture many private and commercial copters. But the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), Turkey's procurement agency, has not formally announced the program. The Turkish government is expected to select a foreign partner in 2013. As a result, the number of helicopters to be produced and the financial size of the program are not clear, although the cost is expected to exceed $1 billion.

Although Eurocopter has developed tens of helicopter types in several categories, SSM insists on the development of a new type, and Hein said Eurocopter is ready to produce a new light helicopter with Turkey.

Eurocopter is part of European defense giant EADS.

12-12-11, 04:21 PM
Army Developing Next-Generation Helicopter

(Source: US Army; issued Dec. 9, 2011)

Computer-generated imagery of one of several configurations that the US Army is looking at as part of the initial development work on its next-generation helicopters. (US Army imagery)

WASHINGTON --- The Pentagon and the U.S. Army are in the early stages of a far-reaching Science & Technology effort designed to engineer, build and deliver a next-generation helicopter with vastly improved avionics, electronics, range, speed, propulsion, survivability, operating density altitudes and payload capacity, service officials said.

The Army-led Joint Multi-Role, or JMR program is a broadly-scoped Pentagon effort, including input, officials and working group members from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, other military services, Coast Guard, Special Operations Command and NASA, among others.

"Our overall philosophy from a program perspective is to leverage what we are learning from the user communities and establish what technologies will provide the desired new capability. Right now the Future Vertical Lift community is working on developing the capabilities document," said Ned Chase, chief, Platform Technology Division, Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, and science and technology lead for the JMR Technology Demonstrator Program.


Building a helicopter able to sustain speeds in excess of 170 knots, achieve an overall combat range greater than 800 kilometers (combat radius of 424 kilometers) and hover with a full combat load under high/hot conditions (altitudes of 6,000 feet and 95 degrees F) are among the many capabilities sought after for the JMR. Plans for the next-generation aircraft also include having a degree of autonomous flight capability or being "optionally manned," successful weapons integration and compatibility, a core common architecture in terms of next-generation electronics, sensors and on-board avionics, manned-unmanned teaming ability and shipboard compatibility.

"We're trying to create a vision," Chase said, referring to the effort to harness technological innovation with a mind to looking beyond current force technology and identifying possible next-generation solutions in a range of areas such as propulsion, airframe materials, rotor systems, engine technology, survivability equipment and Mission Systems, among others.

The JMR program, which seeks to begin designing several "demonstrator" aircraft by 2013 and conduct a first flight in 2017 as a series of first steps toward developing a next-generation fleet of helicopters, is a subset of the Pentagon's Joint Future Vertical Lift effort squarely aimed at exploring emerging technologies and best identifying the realm of the possible with respect to future aircraft and helicopter capabilities. The DOD plans to begin fielding a new fleet of next-generation helicopters by 2030.


"The JMR Program is a key part of our strategy to modernize vertical-lift capability long term. With current budget pressures, it is critical that a strong industry-government-academia team be fleshing out the technology enablers in integrated relevant contexts to establish a solid case for both the operational and fiscal benefits of these advanced aircraft," said Army Chief Scientist Dr. Scott Fish.

"This team will be leveraging not only lessons learned from recent conflicts, but a broad spectrum of Army and DOD basic and applied research investments made in areas which include: engine and driveline efficiency and cost reduction, advanced materials including polymeric and metal matrix composites, sensor/weapon/other payload integration cost reduction, and very high-performance aerodynamic and reliability modeling and simulation. These investments position us well for risk and cost reduction in our vertical-lift endeavors," Fish said.


Planned mission sets for the JMR include cargo, utility, armed scout, attack, humanitarian assistance, MEDEVAC, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, land/sea search and rescue, special warfare support, vertical replenishment, airborne mine countermeasures, and others, according a Nov. 9 Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator Phase 2 Mission Systems Demonstration Request for Information, or RFI.

The over-arching JFVL efforts span a range of four classes of future aircraft, ranging from light helicopters to medium and heavy-lift variants and an ultra-class category designed to build a new fleet of super-heavy-lift aircraft. The ultra-class aircraft will be designed to lift, transport and maneuver large vehicles around the battlefield such as Strykers and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles known as MRAPs. The ultra-class variant, described as a C-130 type of transport aircraft, is part of an Air Force led, Army-Air Force collaborative S&T effort called Joint Future Theater Lift, or JFTL.


The JMR Technology Demonstrator effort is broken down into two distinct, measurable phases; phase one includes an 18-month Configuration and Trades Analysis, or CT&A, designed to explore technological possibilities for a new platform or Air Vehicle. Phase one also includes the design, fabrication and test of several demonstrator aircraft, Chase explained.

Phase two will be focused on trade studies and the development of mission systems. The idea is to build several "Technology Demonstrator" helicopters as a method of refining and informing the requirements for the new aircraft, requirements which will likely evolve and change as technologies mature and emerge over time, officials said.

The JFVL effort, which includes both the JMR acquisition program as well as the JMR Technology Demonstrator effort, is designed to incorporate findings from a series of OSD-led studies and analyses on Future Vertical Lift directed by the secretary of Defense in 2009, including a Rotorcraft Survivability Study, a capabilities-based assessment, an S&T plan and a strategic plan.


The JMR S&T effort, led by the Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC, at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., has awarded "concept trade and analysis" deals with four industry teams tasked with examining the set of attributes, designs and technologies needed to build a new, more capable attack or utility helicopter, said Dave Weller, science and technology nanager, Program Executive Office - Aviation.

"The real focus of JMR is to get at the three major tenets: improve the performance, improve the survivability and significantly reduce the operating cost. The next-generation aircraft will have to be a whole lot less expensive to operate than the current fleet," Weller added. "Also, a big issue is increasing reliability and shortening the supply chain to get the logistical benefits of commonality of parts. When we did an adjunct capability-based assessment done to identify gaps - we came up with some 55 gap areas. The number one gap was reliability."

While the JMR program includes the exploration of light, medium and heavy-lift helicopter variants, the effort will initially focus on medium-lift options.

The Army' s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, or AATD, at Fort Eustis, Va., which leads the execution of the tech-demo effort on behalf of AMRDEC, awarded 18-month Technology Investment Agreements to Boeing, a Bell-Boeing team, Sikorsky and a 15-month contract to the AVX Corporation. The first phase of the process will be for the government and its industry partners to conduct analytical studies and trade assessments designed to articulate the scope of what might be technically possible. These initial findings will help inform the specifications to describe the rotorcraft demonstrator vehicles which will then be built.


"Right now the plan is to go through the first phase to define what the state of the possible would be, followed by a down-select to build two demonstrators. The idea is to identify, develop and demonstrate the best trade solution that covers the attribute matrix. The government is doing the same kind of analysis that industry is doing, so we plan to compare our results," Weller explained.

Initial results from these efforts are due by the end of next year, Weller said.

"We're doing these trade studies to figure out the best way to optimize aircraft. We are working very closely with our user committees who have identified the types of capabilities they would like these future aircraft to have," Chase added.

Building a new aircraft from the ground up is part of an overall strategic effort to harness the best new technologies, allow for the platform to be upgraded as new technologies emerge, integrate systems into a common architecture and, perhaps most of all, drive down costs.


Affordability is the utmost priority with the JMR effort, Chase and Weller emphasized. "It is envisioned that some of these novel ideas may not only drive down the acquisition cost, but also allow much easier and cheaper incorporation of upgrades to the aircraft and its systems," the JMR RFI documents state.

With these Configuration Trades and Analysis studies, Army S&T has taken the lead in exploring the operational benefit and technical feasibility of advanced vertical lift air vehicles, working in concert with the Army's acquisition and requirements communities, said Mac Dinning, AMRDEC aviation liaison for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology).

"While this program is currently wholly funded by the Army, other services are actively participating to define and develop a Joint Service Air Vehicle system that might replace the existing Black Hawk/Seahawk and Apache medium fleet aircraft," Dinning said.

PHASE I - Air Vehicle

The goal of the JMR S&T program is to leverage the S&T needed to successfully influence the development of a program of record, Weller explained. The program plans to have an approved initial capabilities document by April 2013.

The areas of S&T focus on the JMR Technology Demonstrator program span a wide spectrum of emerging technologies from composite materials to electronics and various rotor configurations designed to increase speed without compromising hover ability, Weller said.

For example, one of several existing "compound helicopter" technologies under examination is the potential use of a coaxial rotor system. With this technology, the idea is to place auxiliary propulsion technologies or "thrusting" devices at the back end of the aircraft to provide extra speed, Weller explained.

Another example of these so-called configurations is to build a helicopter which uses two turbo-shaft engines and two small fixed wings on each side of the aircraft fitted with a pusher-propeller for extra propulsion.


Also under examination is the potential use of tilt-rotor aircraft technology such as that currently used for the V-22 Osprey; with this design, the aircraft can reach high speeds in airplane mode and then maintain its ability to hover successfully in helicopter mode.

"When you develop capability like these, however, you give up some hover ability. A main focus of the research is to look at ways of increasing speed without sacrificing the ability to hover," Weller said. "Part of the Science and Technology program is to look at different configurations."

One of the options being taken up through this effort is the exploration of multi-speed transmission capability, a unique configuration designed to increase speed while avoiding the aerodynamic phenomenon of transonic shock, Dinning explained.

"All of the helicopters we develop now are built with a single-speed transmission. We are looking at how we can leverage technology and put in a multi-speed capability," he said.


In addition, the new Air Vehicle may contain composite materials and or items now in development, Chase explained.

"We are exploring how to get the most efficiency out of the new structure that we can. One way to do that may be by using composite materials," he added.

Increasing Air Vehicle speed can shorten the response time for these extended missions or combat radius, a critical necessity for saving lives through MEDEVAC operations, and getting supplies such as food, water and ammo to forward-positioned forces, Dinning explained.

"Current helicopter systems are designed to operate for about two hours without refueling. Typical cruise speeds of 140 knots limit the range that these aircraft can operate in," Dinning said.

Short of off-loading payload (troops, weapons, cargo) to add extra fuel bladders, extended-range operations must rely on Forward Arming and Refueling Points, or FARPs, where fuel and armaments are pre-positioned. "The Army recognizes the need to reduce the manned footprint of these forward operation positions," Dinning said.

Non-linear, asymmetric or counterinsurgency-type environments, such as the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, underscore the need to reduce the risks associated with having deployed units travel to potentially hostile pre-positioned locations to set up FARPs, he said.

Phase 1 will be followed by a Phase 2 extensive Mission Systems and Aircraft Survivability Equipment, or ASE S&T developmental effort.


13-12-11, 02:10 AM
More proposals or potential schemes............

ARH v.4.0
13-12-11, 08:16 AM
Hideous doesn't even begin to describe those monstrosities...

14-12-11, 01:08 PM
Danger Room What's Next in National Security Previous post Black Hawk Made: A Peek Inside the Sikorsky Factory

By Jason Paur Email Author December 14, 2011 | 6:30 am

NOT really future helicopter BUT still interesting to show the complexity of a modern helicopter....................pics are slightly over-size but you can live with it!

Mention the Black Hawk helicopter and the first thing most people think of is the 1993 incident in Somalia where the Sikorsky-manufactured helicopter became famous for all the wrong reasons. A best-selling book and Hollywood movie tends to trump the day in, day out work that's been performed by the helicopters for more than 30 years. But if the Bell UH-1 Huey was synonymous with "military helicopter" during the 1960s and 1970s, the UH-60 Black Hawk (and its siblings) has taken its place ever since.

The UH-60 Black Hawk is actually just one member of a large family of helicopters. The military designates the variants of the H-60 with a prefix indicating their intended purpose: there's the utility UH-60; search and rescue/medical evacuation HH-60; anti-submarine SH-60; multi-mission MH-60; or the staff transporting VH-60. (No word on the designation for the stealth version used in the Osama bin Laden raid.) The company designation for the model is S-70.

The helicopter is used by every branch of the U.S. armed forces and several other government agencies, including the Customs and Border Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Agency. More than 30 foreign countries operate at least one variant of the S-70 family, some as close as Canada and Mexico, others as far away as China.

On a trip earlier this year to learn about Sikorsky's speedy X-2 helicopter program, we visited the company headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut. On our way to the flight test office, we were able to take a tour of the factory where the S-70 helicopters roll off the assembly line and are test flown before being delivered to the wide range of customers. Here's a sampling of what we saw -- and how the signature U.S. military helicopter gets put together.

Above, an unpainted UH-60M sits on the flight line just outside the factory doors, awaiting its first ground run before preliminary flight testing. Some of the helicopters are painted before flight test, while others are flown with only the primer colors on the various components.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

Bare S-70 airframes enter the factory at the far left of the picture above. Components are added to the airframes -- including engines, transmissions, wiring, avionics and interiors -- by the time the helicopters work their way down to the other end of the assembly line.

More than 3,000 S-70 variants have rolled off the assembly line since the first helicopter entered service back in 1979. Since 9/11, the Connecticut factory has been very busy: Today, it's producing helicopters at a rate averaging five per week.

This factory has a long history producing military aircraft. During World War II, F-4U Corsair aircraft were built here by the thousands. Today the different variants of the S-70 helicopter are built in Stratford side by side. In the picture above an MH-60R Sea Hawk destined for the Navy is in the foreground, while UH-60M and HH-60M Black Hawks are being assembled in the background.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

First flown on Oct. 17, 1974, the S-70 helicopter was designed as a replacement of the UH-1 Huey. The helicopter entered service in 1979 and first entered combat in Granada in 1983. Since then it has served as the workhorse helicopter in every conflict from the invasion of Panama to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Once the major components such as the engine, landing gear and controls are added at the first few stations on the assembly line, the electronic systems and avionics are added. The nose of the MH-60R above will eventually be packed full of tools from infrared and visible cameras to radar and sonar. The "Romeo" has the ability to perform a wide variety of missions from anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare, as well as search and rescue and special operations support.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

And you thought rewiring the bathroom was a challenge. In addition to the wide range of electronic observation systems used on some of the S-70 variants, the modern helicopters also come equipped with tools aimed at making the pilot's job easier.

The picture above is taken from the left cabin door looking forward toward the cockpit. Depending on the S-70 variant, the large interior could be filled with anything from troop seating for up to 14 or medical stretchers for six.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

Inside the main cabin of an HH-60M Black Hawk medevac helicopter, there's seating for two crew members, along with the litters for patients. The medevac helicopter has come a long ways since the Bell 47 -- familiar to M*A*S*H* viewers -- where patients were transported outside on the landing skids.

The litter platforms inside the Black Hawk can be lowered and raised with the four white buttons on the panel seen on the right. Additional litters can be placed on the floor of the cabin. The panel on a medevac Black Hawk also includes built in oxygen and suction for each of the three litter positions on each side of the cabin.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

The cockpit of the S-70 has changed dramatically since the helicopter first started flying in the 1970s. The traditional round gauges have been replaced by multiple glass panel displays that show everything from flight instruments to navigation tools.

Above, work is just beginning on the cockpit of an MH-60R Sea Hawk. Other than the pedals that control the tail rotor, there is no other sign of a working cockpit with raw wiring visible where the seats will eventually be installed.

In addition to the Black Hawk and Sea Hawk variants, the Air Force also operates the Pave Hawk and the Coast Guard operates the Jay Hawk. Both variations are specialized for search and rescue. The Marines operate the self-explanatory VH-60 Presidential Hawk.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

Once finished, the interior of a modern S-70 provides today's pilots with tools to reduce their workload and increase their ability to fly in a wide range of diverse and difficult conditions. In addition to the glass panel displays that aid pilot situational awareness, a modern Black Hawk such as the HH-60M cockpit seen above includes tools such as an autopilot that includes auto-hover capabilities.

With a gross weight of 22,000 pounds or more, depending on the variant, the S-70 is more than twice as heavy as the UH-1 Huey it replaced. It has a cruise speed of more than 150 knots (173 miles per hour).

The main control stick on the right is known as the cyclic. It controls the tilt of the main rotor. Moving the cyclic forward, backward, left or right tilts the rotor disc in the same direction, moving the helicopter in the same direction. The control stick on the left is the collective, which changes the pitch of the rotor blades. Pull it up and the helicopter climbs; push it down and the helicopter descends. The nearly 4,000 horsepower available through a pair of General Electric turbine engines is controlled via auto throttles that are set during takeoff and are unlikely to be touched often during flight.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

The U.S. Army is by far the biggest S-70 customer with more than 1,900 Black Hawks that have entered service. When the Black Hawk was first developed during the early 1970s, the hope was for an aircraft that could carry more, fly faster and have better survivability than the UH-1 Huey.

One of the design attributes of the Black Hawk is the euphemistically named "ballistically tolerant rotor and drive system." Unlike fixed wing aircraft that can handle significant damage to a wing, tail or engine and continue flying, a helicopter is very susceptible to damage to its lift or control devices.

Above the main drive shaft to the tail rotor follows the top of the tail boom of a UH-60M partially protecting it from below. Because the tail rotor is located higher on the tail, an intermediate gear box is needed to deliver power. The tail rotor of a Black Hawk is 11 feet in diameter and is tilted 20 degrees from vertical. The tilt supplements the main rotor providing additional lift.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

Once an S-70 leaves the assembly line it passes through to a finishing hangar where all of the systems are checked and the main rotor blades are added. Then the helicopter is handed over to the production test pilots.

"We fly the aircraft, the target is three and a half hours of flight time for the acceptance test" says chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck. It usually only takes about two hours for the initial flight.

Once the aircraft has undergone its initial flight, it's brought back to the hangar and everything is checked and tightened. The helicopter is then painted and any special mission equipment, such as an external winch, is added at the company's facility in Elmira, New York

Eventually the helicopter is flown a total of 10 hours as part of the break-in to assure everything continues to work properly. Once the Sikorsky pilots are finished with it, the helicopter is flown by an acceptance pilot from whichever branch of government is taking delivery. The pilot may then deliver it to its final destination or may hand it back to a Sikorsky pilot for delivery.

With the relatively high production rate, Sikorsky pilots have been extremely busy in recent years, "last year, including aftermarket support" Bredenbeck says, "our test pilots flew over 6,700 hours."

There is no current plan to replace the S-70 family of helicopters, though Sikorsky does have plans to eventually develop a medium lift sized version of its pusher helicopter technology first used with the X2 technology demonstrator.

Photos: Jason Paur/Wired.com

14-12-11, 03:24 PM
Pentagon Developing Next-Generation Helicopter Equipment

(Source: US Army; issued December 13, 2011)

WASHINGTON --- The Army-led Science and Technology Joint Multi-Role Demonstrator effort to design a next-generation vertical-lift aircraft by 2030 is heavily focused on leveraging advanced electronic and avionics capabilities, service officials explained.

Sensors, electronics, avionics and cutting-edge types of mission and survivability equipment are a large part of the S&T equation, said Dave Weller, science and technology program manager, Program Executive Office - Aviation. The goal is to design a vertical-lift aircraft that is faster, more capable and better equipped than today's fleet.


As part of the JMR Technology Demonstrator Phase 2, the Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC, at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., has sent a Nov. 9 formal Request for Information out to industry. The purpose is to solicit feedback on developmental solutions and emerging technologies in the areas of Mission Systems and Aircraft Survivability Equipment.

"Our notional strategy with this RFI is to look at potential technological solutions which can be integrated onto our flight demonstrator aircraft in the 2018 timeframe," Weller explained.

Overall, the next-generation Mission Equipment Package, or MEP engineered for the JMR will need to accommodate the capabilities and parameters of the new Air Vehicles advanced in Phase 1 of the program, said Malcolm Dinning, AMRDEC Aviation Liaison for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology).

"The Phase 1 Air Vehicle design will provide a new platform, but the ability to be operationally effective depends upon the Mission Equipment Package -- such as targeting, weapons package and sensor capabilities," said Dinning.

"As we start looking at vehicle speeds that are well above current aircraft, we cannot simply add large sensor pods onto the aircraft. We have to figure out how to integrate these sensors and antennas as conformal systems to the air frame."

Accordingly, Phase 2 will look for integrated solutions and Mission Systems capability able to provide the technological growth and open systems architecture sufficient to bring the JMR aircraft into the next generation.


"What we're trying to do is identify capabilities that we would like to see. We don't anticipate any particular solution, rather we are asking industry to propose solutions to certain problems we are looking to solve," said Ray Wall, chief of the Systems Integration Division, Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, or AATD, Fort Eustis, Va., and lead for the Phase 2 portion of the JMR Technology Demonstrator program.

Vendors were invited to a JMR industry day in Newport News Va., Nov. 18 to learn more detail regarding the parameters of the RFI.

"We told our industry partners what we are trying to do and gave them the proper framework with which to give us advice. We're asking for industry to provide feedback regarding whether they have specific solutions which can meet our approach and solve our capability gaps. We are also interested in their comments regarding whether they believe we have adequately addressed an approach to solving problems that we know exist," said Wall.

The RFI will be followed by a Broad Agency Announcement expected to be released to vendors in January 2012. The AATD plans to conduct a Phase 2 trade and analysis beginning in July of this year, to be followed by plans to award multiple Mission Systems Effectiveness Trades and Analysis Technology Investment Agreements by late 2012.

"We don't want to be bound by what is out there today. The hardware and software solutions we seek may be similar or radically different than what exists today," Wall explained.


Integration is key to the Army's Mission Systems and ASE strategy, as the overall approach is aimed at fielding an integrated suite of sensors and countermeasure technologies designed to work in tandem to identify and in some cases deter a wide range of potential incoming threats, from small arms fire to RPGs, shoulder-fired missiles and other types of attacks.

One such example of these technologies is called Common Infrared Countermeasure, or CIRCM, a light-weight, high-tech laser-jammer engineered to divert incoming missiles by throwing them off course. CIRCM is a lighter-weight, improved version of the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures, or ATIRCM system currently deployed on aircraft.

CIRCM, which will be fielded by 2018, represents the state of the art in countermeasure technology, officials said. Future iterations of this kind of capability envisioned for 2030 may or may not be similar to CIRCM, Chase said. Future survivability solutions will be designed to push the envelope toward the next-generation of technology, he explained.

"We will need to be responsive to today's threats plus additional threats that we don't even know about yet. With JMR, we are talking about a vertical-lift aircraft that has significantly different capabilities, so the sensors and Mission Equipment will have to be significantly different in order to accommodate the dimensions of the new Air Vehicle and the flight environment in which it will operate," Chase said.

Additional countermeasure solutions proposed by industry could include various types of laser technology and Directed Energy applications as well as missile-launch and ground-fire detection systems, Wall added.


The RFI is also looking to gather information on sensor technologies, such as next-generation options and solutions which might improve upon the state-of-the-art Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor, or MTADS systems currently deployed on helicopters; MTADS sensing and targeting technology provide helicopters thermal imaging infrared cameras as well stabilized electro-optical sensors, laser rangefinders and laser target designators.

The current, upgraded MTADS currently deployed on aircraft throughout the Army were engineered to accommodate the size, weight and power dimensions of today's aircraft, dimensions which will likely change with the arrival of a new Air Vehicle built for JMR, Wall said. In essence, the AATD is hoping the proposed technical solutions will be engineered with a mind to the dimensions of a new, next-generation Air Vehicle.

"We're looking for enhancements to MTADS and other sensors and Mission Equipment in terms of how they could be incorporated into the airframe of a new Air Vehicle," Wall said.


JMR Weapons Systems Integration is a critical part of this effort, according to the RFI. The JMR aircraft will be engineered to integrate weapons and sensor systems to autonomously detect, designate and track targets, perform targeting operations during high-speed maneuvers, conduct off-axis engagements, track multiple targets simultaneously and optimize fire-control performance such that ballistic weapons can accommodate environmental effects such as wind and temperature, the RFI states.

Exploring the range of "autonomous flight" or "optionally piloted" technologies is also central to the JMR program, Weller said. Along these lines, the AATD is looking for technical solutions or mission equipment which increases a pilot's cognitive decision-making capability by effectively managing the flow of information from an array of sensors into the cockpit, Weller explained.


The RFI describes much of this capability in terms of the need to develop a Human Machine Interface, HMI, wherein advanced cockpit software and computing technologies are able to autonomously perform a greater range of functions such as on-board navigation, sensing and threat detection, thus lessening the burden placed upon pilots and crew, Chase said.

In particular, cognitive decision-aiding technologies explored for 4th-generation JMR cockpit will develop algorithms able to track, prioritize organize and deliver incoming on- and off-board sensory information by optimizing visual, 3-D audio and tactile informational cues, Dinning explained.

"What we're really looking to do for the volume of information flowing into the aircraft is exploring how to best deliver this information without creating sensory overload. Some of this information may be displayed in the cockpit and some of it may be built into a helmet display," Dinning added.

Manned-Unmanned teaming, also discussed in the RFI, constitutes a significant portion of this capability; the state of the art with this capability allows helicopter pilots to not only view video feeds from nearby UAS from the cockpit of the aircraft, but it also gives them an ability to control the UAS flight path and sensor payloads as well. Future iterations of this technology may seek to implement successively greater levels of autonomy, potentially involving scenarios wherein an unmanned helicopter is able to perform these functions working in tandem with nearby UAS, Chase explained.


Air-to-Air "tracking" capability is another solution sought by the RFI, comprised of advanced software and sensors able to inform pilots of obstacles such as a UAS or nearby aircraft; this technology will likely include Identify Friend or Foe, or IFF transponders which cue pilots regarding nearby aircraft, Wall said.

Technical solutions able to provide another important obstacle avoidance "sensing" capability called Controlled Flight Into Terrain, or CFIT, are also being explored; in this instance, sensors, advanced mapping technology and digital flight controls would be engineered to protect an aircraft from nearby terrain such as trees, mountains, telephone wires and other low-visibility items by providing pilots with sufficient warning of an upcoming obstacle and, in some instances, offering them course-correcting flight options.

Using sensors and other technologies to help pilots navigate through "brown-outs" or other conditions involving what's called a "Degraded Visual Environment" is a key area of emphasis as well, Wall added.

"Overall, what we are trying to do is look at a range of solutions such as radar, electro-optical equipment, lasers, sensors, software, avionics and communications equipment and see what the right architecture is and how we would integrate all these things together," Wall explained.

Similar to Phase 1 which is focused on Air Vehicle development, Phase 2 of the JMR TD is also heavily emphasizing affordability and hoping to encourage innovation in a manner that also contains costs.


"JMR presents a unique opportunity to apply historic amounts of creativity and innovation to the single-largest decision factor influencing the entire life cycle of an aircraft: cost. With a clean-sheet design, it may be possible to incorporate from the beginning new technologies, new concepts, new processes, or even old ones that could not win their way on to fielded platforms," the RFI states.

Along these lines, the JMR is expected to use Health Usage Maintenance Systems, or HUMS diagnostic sensor technologies attached to key aircraft components to catalogue usage data as a way to streamline the repair parts replacement process, substantially lower maintenance costs and in some cases extend the service life of aircraft, Dinning said.

"HUMS absolutely has the highest potential for reducing operational and maintenance cost of the aircraft. This provides an ability to build sensors onto maintenance-intensive components that we routinely inspect. We record the flight-usage spectrum and the sensors record the behavior of this component. This information is then passed to a diagnostic software tool that diagnoses anomalies in that behavior and then sends the information to a prognostic tool which determines when failure might occur.

"This combination of sensing, diagnostics and prognostics allows us to move from our current scheduled maintenance to a conditioned-based maintenance approach. This allows us to replace stuff only as needed," Dinning said.

While this technology is used widely in the current fleet of Army aircraft, future applications of HUMS will look at innovative ways of embedding diagnostic technologies onto the Air Vehicle itself, Dinning added.


21-12-11, 01:07 PM
Northrop Grumman wins CH-53K contract

21 December 2011 - 10:46 by the Shephard News Team

Northrop Grumman has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the US Navy for work on the new CH-53K Super Stallion helicopter. According to a 19 December 2011 company statement, it will provide integration and laboratory test support for the LN-251 embedded global positioning system (GPS)/fibre-optic inertial navigation system (INS) on the CH-53K.

The contract, awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, is part of the initial test phase for the CH-53K. Northrop Grumman will define system requirements for the integration of the LN-251 system in Sikorsky Aircraft's CH-53K, being developed for the US Marine Corps.

The LN-251 system is the world's smallest, lightest navigation-grade embedded GPS/INS unit in its class. Its high-performance, fibre-optic gyro-based inertial measurement unit provides a compact, low-noise solution for optimal sensor stabilisation and navigation applications. The LN-251 system's modular, open architecture supports additional applications and evolving requirements.

21-12-11, 10:55 PM
Great story and pics regarding the Sikorsky Factory, I saw vast amounts of high density cabling during my time in Telecom but never the mish mash of different size and types in such a small area as the pics showed,I guess they all end up in the right place in the finish.

22-12-11, 02:56 PM
AgustaWestland’s New Generation AW189 Helicopter Completes Its Maiden Flight

(Source: AgustaWestland; issued Dec. 22, 2011)

AgustaWestland’s latest twin-engined helicopter, the AW189, made its first flight on Dec. 21, adding yet another model to the company’s expanding line of new models. (AW photo)

AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that the first prototype of the AW189 twin engine 8-tonne class helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight yesterday.

The aircraft was launched at the Paris Air Show earlier this year and this first prototype made its maiden flight ahead of schedule. AgustaWestland aims to achieve civil certification for the AW189 in 2013 and to start deliveries in early 2014.

The AW189 was flown by AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco at the company’s Cascina Costa plant in Italy. It performed as expected during the flight which included an assessment of the helicopter’s general handling and basic systems. The first prototype will be used for avionic system testing and certification of offshore equipment options, while the second prototype, set to fly in 2012, will be dedicated to a load survey programme.

Bruno Spagnolini, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland, said “Performing the first flight of the new AW189 just a few months after its launch highlights our strong commitment to providing the market with the most advanced helicopters in the shortest possible timescales. We are delighted with the initial response from the market with a number of leading operators having already committed to buy the AW189 for long range offshore missions.”

He went on to say “We are confident as we progress towards certification and production that many more operators will select the AW189 as their new generation helicopter for Search and Rescue, offshore transport and parapublic missions due to its long-range capabilities, attractive operating costs and modern safety features.”

The all-new AW189 was launched this year in response to the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multirole helicopter in the 8-tonne class and has rapidly found success in the market place. A number of sales have already been secured from leading operators serving the offshore oil and gas markets, including Bristow Helicopters, Bel Air, and Weststar Aviation Services.

The AW189 is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW169 and AW139 models. These helicopters all possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features and share the same common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concepts. This approach will deliver real cost savings in areas such as training, maintenance and support for existing operators of the AW139 who add AW169 and/or AW189 helicopters to their fleets.

Set to enter service in early 2014, the twin engine AW189 helicopter is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR missions. The spacious cabin seats 16 passengers in the standard configuration with the option of a high density 18 seat layout or an ultra long-range 12 seat configuration. In the SAR role the 11.2 m3 cabin can accommodate a mission console, stretchers and seating for the crew and survivors. A single or dual rescue hoist is positioned above the large sliding cabin door on the starboard side and a range of equipment including FLIR, searchlight and radar can be fitted.

Exceptional external visibility and the deployment of the latest in avionics technology make the AW189 the pilot’s choice. The cockpit design incorporates the latest in advanced situational awareness technologies which reduce crew workload and enhance safety.

The new generation AW189 will meet the very latest international regulatory safety requirements (EASA / FAA Part 29, JAR OPS 3 / EU-OPS). The AW189 will also benefit from the extensive and expanding AgustaWestland worldwide support network already serving the offshore oil and gas industry. A range of simulator and training devices will progressively be made available to serve the worldwide AW189 customer base.


05-01-12, 12:29 PM
Chinese AC313 receives certification

05 January 2012 - 10:39 by Tony Osborne in London

The Avicopter AC313 has been certified by the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC), paving the way for the aircraft’s introduction to operational service with civilian operators in China.

In issuing the certification on 5 January for the 13-tonne helicopter, the authorities said the AC313 meets the regulations in accordance with the requirements of CCAR-29R1, allow the aircraft to play a role in disaster relief activities, forest fire prevention and offshore operations.

Details released by the Xinhua News Agency said that the AC313 went through a strict airworthiness test regime for certification, including 200 hours of flight testing with a particular emphasis on high altitude performance with flights in Tibet and up to the Everest base camp.

With a full-load of 13 tons the AC313 can fly to an altitude of 3,000 m (9,800 ft). Test flights also concluded that with ten rescue personnel onboard and operating from the Everest base camp the AC313 would be able operate out to 350 km, allowing the aircraft to cover a major part of the 'vast Tibetan Plateau'.

Development of the type has taken four years, and reports suggest that Chinese operators have ordered some 32 AC313s.

The type is powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-67A turboshafts and despite being hailed as an indigenous design, the aircraft bears a strong resemblance to the Aerospatiale Super Frelon, examples of which were exported to China in the late 1970s.

06-01-12, 03:43 PM
Eurocopter’s EC175 Exceeds Its Ambitious Operational Targets and Offers 30 Percent Increased Performance

(Source: Eurocopter; issued January 06, 2012)

Eurocopter has announced that its new EC175 helicopter, due to enter service at year-end, has demonstrated 30% better performance than initially planned. (EC photo)

MARIGNANE, France --- The next-generation Eurocopter EC175 will incorporate significantly increased range and payload capacity when it enters service at the end of this year, and will be the first seven metric ton-category helicopter delivered with such capabilities.

In releasing EC175 enhanced performance specifications today, Eurocopter announced a baseline payload/radius-of-action capacity with 16 passengers at 135 nautical miles when configured for offshore oil and gas missions, out-performing any medium-lift helicopter on the market in terms of competitiveness. This represents a 30 percent performance increase compared with the initial performance baseline. For longer-range missions, EC175 can transport 12 passengers to a radius of action of 190 nautical miles.

In addition, Eurocopter has launched the development of a 18 passengers configuration option, aiming at carrying those 18 passengers to a radius-of-action of 100 nautical miles.

“Eurocopter has maintained a two-way dialog with operators and end-users throughout the EC175’s development program, providing us with an ever better understanding of their operational needs from 2012 and beyond,” explained Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling. “As a result, we have incorporated certain adaptations that will further improve the helicopter’s operational capability, placing it ahead of the competition from its entry into service.”

The EC175 program is progressing well, with first deliveries targeted in late 2012 following certification in the offshore mission configuration with the enhanced performance.

Ongoing testing continues to validate the EC175’s rugged design, including cold and hot weather trials, bird strike tests, and gearbox operation for 30 minutes after loss of oil. Two EC175 prototypes have logged more than 270 flight hours to date and industrial activity is continuing – with the first two serial aircraft being assembled at the Eurocopter’s Marignane facility in France.

The EC175 offers state-of-the-art proven technology. It has been designed in cooperation with the most demanding operators to deliver the highest safety standards for passenger transport. This includes unique flight envelope protection and pilot assistance with the most advanced 4-axis dual-duplex automatic flight control system – derived from Eurocopter’s EC225 helicopter – and a highly intuitive new avionics and human machine interface. Pilot workload is decreased as the result of better situational awareness and the help of an innovative crew-alerting concept, supported by a powerful vehicle monitoring system.

The Spheriflex rotor-equipped EC175 also offers unrivalled comfort with a very low vibration level that is similar to the benchmark EC155. Incorporating the largest cabin in its class, the EC175 is fitted with extra-large windows and an optimized climate control system that functions while in-flight and on the ground through an engine declutch function.

With its superior standard internal fuel tank capacity of more than 2,000 kg and its spacious interior, the EC175 is the most capable search and rescue helicopter in the seven-to-eight metric ton category, providing the longest range/endurance capability with cabin volume that enables MEDEVAC search and rescue missions to be performed.

Eurocopter will support its EC175 operators for an easy entry into service, facilitated by on-board maintainability- and reliability-enhancing features such as a monitoring system with an on-ground maintenance reporting capability to facilitate troubleshooting, HUMS (health and usage monitoring system), 3D technical publications, full-flight simulators, optimized scheduled maintenance through MSG-3, and a continuous maintenance review board process incorporating input from operators. All of this will be complemented by the Eurocopter Group’s support organization and the establishment of dedicated entry-into-service services.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of 4.8 billion Euros, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.


12-01-12, 02:26 PM
Helicopter Engines: Heading for Hybrids

(Source: Safran; issued January 11, 2012)

Novel hybrid engine solutions are bringing about a new technological breakthrough in the world of helicopter propulsion. What are the challenges facing Turbomeca? Olivier Andries, Chairman & CEO of Turbomeca (Safran), provides some answers.

Turbomeca has been a major player on the helicopter engine stage for many years. To keep one step ahead, we need to prepare for the future. This means that we have to provide solutions that push the innovation and performance envelope, such as the hybrid engine.

Why are hybrid technologies in the limelight right now?

The power-to-weight ratio of “conventional” engines has doubled in fifty years, while cutting fuel consumption by 40%. However, current estimates show that for conventional engine architecture, further improvements would reduce fuel consumption by around 15% by 2020. Hybridization, on the other hand, would take us beyond this with an expected 25% gain in specific consumption. Hybrid engines would also have a positive impact on the environment and helicopter safety.

What does engine hybridization involve?

It consists in combining a number of sources of energy adapted to the various phases of helicopter flight. The idea is to optimize the “conventional” engine for a given power rating, namely cruise flight. For critical phases such as take-off or hovering, or emergency situations, the additional energy required to power the helicopter is supplied by other sources such as the APU (auxiliary power unit) or electric generators. Engines would therefore no longer need to be sized for these specific ratings and fuel consumption would fall as a result. Hybridization also challenges us to consider the helicopter propulsion system as a whole and this is one that we are preparing to meet.

What is the business outlook for these hybrid engines?

We expect to begin demonstrating hybridization for the 2000-3000 horsepower range around 2014-2015 ahead of the introduction of a new 10-to-12-ton helicopter class which will require high-performance propulsion systems in this power range. We are therefore currently working on the technological solutions to meet this demand. It is clear, however, that progress on hybrid propulsion will also depend on the gradual improvement in the power-to-weight ratio of electric storage systems.


13-01-12, 01:10 AM
Military Sales May Sustain Helo Makers Again

Jan 12, 2012

By Robert Wall

Combat operations have been a boon to helicopter manufacturers, especially at a time of anemic commercial orders. European companies in particular are counting on military demand to sustain them for at least another year.

The Polish government, for example, is preparing to acquire 26 medium, multi*role helicopters, with the goal of fielding the equipment through 2017. The aim is to buy a single helicopter type that could fulfill different missions. The bulk of the fleet, 16 rotorcraft, would be used by the Polish army for troop transport. Another three would be for land-based search-and-rescue missions, with three more slated to be used for maritime SAR. A final four would be dedicated to maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare, the defense ministry says. First deliveries should take place as early as this year.

India also remains in the market for more military rotorcraft (see p. 28).

Moreover, the U.K. intends to order more helicopters. It plans to add four AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcats to its 62-rotorcraft commitment, according to Peter Luff, minister for defense equipment and support. The Anglo-Italian company is set to release the helicopter for service soon. The first AH-159 for the army is slated for delivery in April, and the first HMA-159 for the navy will follow a year later. The AH-159 is due to become operational in 2014.

Another source of activity could stem from some 2011 procurements that did not materialize owing to budget constraints, according to industry officials

“We will grow on the military side,” Euro*copter CEO Lutz Bertling declares. Recent years had seen NH90 transport and Tiger attack helicopters helping to offset weak commercial demand, and the strong market success of the EC725 troop-transport helicopter has reinforced that situation during the past two years.

But Bertling says his company needs to protect its position as the second-largest military helicopter maker, especially since Sikorsky’s strong position with the Pentagon keeps the U.S. manufacturer clearly in the top slot.

One important new arena of competition is Russia’s resurgent rotorcraft industry—underscored by strong global sales of the Mi-171. Russian Helicopters, which is also making inroads in commercial markets, projected a more than 20% year-on-year increase in deliveries for 2011, to roughly 260 units.

Eurocopter will try to reclaim some of the market from its Russian rival. The EADS unit hopes to sign the first contracts soon for a low-cost Super Puma version. While the price remains above what the Russians can offer for the Mi-171, Bertling says that if Eurocopter’s lift rotorcraft is used more than 1,200 hr. a year, it should pay for itself within two years.

The focus on military rotorcraft—in addition to the oil and gas sector, which has been the one commercial segment that remained resilient during the economic downturn—enabled Euro*copter to boost revenues in 2011 to more than €5 billion ($6.4 billion), up from €4.8 billion the year before, even as deliveries fell for the third year in a row; they reached roughly 500 units after peaking in 2008 at 588. However, there are signs that the business is stabilizing, with cancellations last year at the typical level of around 20 units.

But the market balance, now dominated in value by military sales, will shift in the coming years; parity is likely in terms of the size (in value) of the military and commercial sectors around 2025. Bertling notes that, particularly in the medium-twin category, his company needs to strengthen its offerings in the face of pressure from AgustaWestland. The AW139 has had a strong market presence, he adds, and AgustaWestland is further strengthening its products in that sector with the first flight of the AW189 late last year.

Eurocopter, meanwhile, intends to fight back, initially with the EC175 being codeveloped with China’s Avic. Based on flight-test results, the company says it can offer better-than-expected performance, with the helicopter delivering a 135-nm radius-of-action with 16 passengers and 190 nm with 12 passengers, representing a 30% improvement over the initial baseline. The company also is working on an 18-passenger configuration, which would have a 100-nm radius of action.

After discussion with potential customers, Bertling says, “we have incorporated certain adaptations that will further improve the helicopter’s operational capability, placing it ahead of the competition from its entry into service.” The EC175 is slated for delivery this year. The first two helicopters are now in assembly at Eurocopter’s facility near Marseille, France. Flight testing has focused on two prototypes, which have logged more than 270 hr., and industrial activity is continuing.

The next major thrust to reclaim momentum in the medium-twin segment centers on the Dauphin and EC155 replacement program, the X4, which should come to market in late 2016.

With an improved cash position, Euro*copter also is seeking small-scale opportunities, with some deals possible in the near future, says Bertling. However, a larger move is unlikely, he adds. Instead, the focus will be on exploiting deals already made, in particular the acquisition of service company Vector Aerospace, which closed last year.

With continued speculation that a *larger restructuring of the helicopter industry looms, Bertling remains skeptical about the ability of Eurocopter and AgustaWestland to act as consolidators because of likely anti-trust concerns. Still, he would not rule out the company playing a role if the opportunity arises.

Photo: Eurocopter

14-01-12, 05:57 AM
S-97 Raider supplier team announced

13 January 2012 - 15:03 by the Shephard News Team

Sikorsky has finalised its supplier team selection for assembly of two prototype S-97 Raider helicopters for evaluation by the US military. Thirty five companies were named in the team during the Association of the United States Army's ILW Aviation Symposium and Exposition, National Harbor, Md.

Structures will be provided by Aurora (Va., Miss.); Cytec (Calif., N.Y.); East/West Industries (N.Y.); Fischer (Germany); Hexcel (Conn., Utah); PPG (Calif.); Triumph Group (Wash.).

Avionics will be provided by Avionics Instruments (N.J.); BAE Systems (N.Y.); Eaton (Miss.); Esterline Control Systems (Calif., Ill., Wash.); Garmin (Kan.); Goodrich (Fla., Minn.); Hamilton Sundstrand (Conn.); Honeywell (Ariz.); Lockheed Martin (N.Y.); Northrop Grumman (Calif.).

Propulsion will be provided by Ametek (N.Y.); Ducommun (N.Y.); Eaton (Mich.); General Electric (Mass.); Honeywell (Ariz.); Liquid Measurement Systems (Vt.); Meggitt-USA (Ga., Calif.); Spectrum (Conn.); TIGHITCO (Conn.).

Rotors and transmission will be provided by Emerson-McGill (Ind.); Fatigue Technology (Wash.); FAG Canada; Goodrich (N.Y.); Hamilton Sundstrand (Conn., Ill.); Kamatics (Conn.); LORD Corp. (Pa.); Pankl Aerospace (Calif.); Parker Aerospace (Calif., Ga.); Schultz (Calif.); SIFCO (Ohio); Triumph Group (Utah, Mich.).

Blades will be provided by Cytec (Calif., N.Y.);Eagle Aviation Technologies (Va.); Hexcel (Conn., Utah); Rotating Composites (Conn.).

The Raider aircraft program follows Sikorsky's successful X2 Technology demonstrator helicopter, which in September 2010 achieved more than 250 knots (287 mph) flight speed, or twice the average cruise speed of a conventional helicopter. Like the X2 demonstrator aircraft, the single engine S-97 Raider helicopter will feature coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller to provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots (253 mph) with dash speeds up to 240 knots (276 mph) or higher.

14-01-12, 06:31 AM
F-35-Style Sensors Could Be Integrated Onto Apaches

The future of helicopter tech will come in waves, according to one Army aviation official. As the Army fights to ensure funding for its effort to field a brand new class of choppers, known as joint multirole rotorcraft, some Army officials are hoping to advance the state of the art in chopper tech through gradual but significant upgrades to existing helicopters. This technology, once proven on existing birds, could reduce the cost and time required to build a brand new helo.

One such example is how Col. Shane Openshaw, the Army’s AH-64 Apache program manager is eyeing F-35-style distributed aperture sensor (DAS) tech for use on the Apache. “We’re thinking about how to do integration” with DAS-style technology on the third development phase of the Block III Apache sometime later this decade, Openshaw told me after a Boeing luncheon this week. “It’s very much in the realm of the possible.”

The F-35’s DAS system consists of six infrared cameras mounted in the airplane’s skin providing a 360-degree sphere of coverage around the jet. Video filmed by the cameras is fed directly onto a screen on the pilots helmet visor allowing him to literally look down through the bottom of his aircraft. Now, the system is still having its teething issues, especially the helmet part, but an F-35 flying over Maryland and Virginia recently tracked a missile launch in Florida by using its DAS system.

Now, the Apaches may not necessarily use the same system as the F-35, but its the concept that Openshaw likes. The miniaturization of sensor tech could someday allow him to install a network of tiny but powerful sensors around the Apache’s airframe and feed their data back to the cockpit. He pointed out that this could allow him to remove the 400-pound sensor turret on the helo’s nose. The reduced weight would improve the aircraft’s speed and fuel and weapons load.

Combine this with advancements in engine and blade tech that are already in the works — and possibly even pusher propellers mounted on the aft of the chopper — and modified versions of the basic Apache design could inch Army aviation ever closer to achieving the speed, altitude and maneuverability breakthroughs that the service wants from its next generation helo fleet, said Openshaw.

He also pointed out that the choppers must have a truly open software system that allows the helos to accept a variety of small sensors ranging from infrared cameras to threat warning receivers and a variety of weapons and countermeasure systems that can all be installed on a ‘plug and play basis’ similar to a USB stick on a computer. (Raytheon is even working to build tiny but powerful Active Electronically Scanned Array radars that be embedded in an aircraft’s skin.) This would not only allow the choppers load to be customized for missions but would ensure that new technology could be quickly developed for and installed on the aircraft.

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2012/01/13/f-35-style-sensors-could-be-integrated-onto-apaches/#ixzz1jPL1ohl2

16-01-12, 06:35 PM
US Army to deploy enhanced vision radars on 10 UH-60Ls

By: Stephen Trimble Washington DC

1 hours ago


The US Army will install radar-powered enhanced vision systems on 10 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawks for a combat trial in Afghanistan, according to radar supplier Sierra Nevada.

Even in war zones, most helicopter crashes are still caused by collisions with small obstacles, such as cables, wires and poles, said Tim Owings, Sierra Nevada's vice-president of strategic planning.

The army wants to know if a new generation of radars can help pilots see potential hazards, especially in the dark, bad weather or dust clouds that cause so-called "brown-out" conditions.

Sierra Nevada's new product - the helicopter autonomous landing system (HALS) - was selected for the army's demonstration, said Jennifer Jensen, the company's vice-president of business development.

HALS is currently sized as a 45kg (99lb) package that includes a 94GHz radar, Jensen said. The radar creates a three-dimensional image rendering of the terrain. The image is presented on a cockpit display, overlaid onto a synthetic vision map of the ground.

HALS also allows the pilot to take-off and land autonomously when unable to see, while avoiding obstacles as small as wires and cables.

Sierra Nevada also plans to offer a smaller version of HALS as the basis for a sense and avoid system for unmanned air vehicles.

Commercial operators, including FedEx, Gulfstream and UPS, have also expressed interest in HALS, Jensen said.

17-01-12, 01:42 PM
PZL-Świdnik Signs Contracts for Five New Helicopters and 14 Helicopter Upgrades with the Polish Ministry of National Defence

(Source: AgustaWestland; issued Jan. 16, 2012)

AgustaWestland unit PZL-Swidnik will upgrade 14 helicopters, like the W-3PL Głuszec above, and supply five new-production W-3s for the Polish ministry of defense. (PZL-S photo)

PZL-Świdnik, an AgustaWestland company, is pleased to announce it has signed contracts with the Polish Ministry of National Defence valued at approximately PLN380 million net (EUR 90 million) for the supply of five W-3WA Sokół helicopters and the upgrade of 14 helicopters. The manufacture and upgrading activities will be undertaken at the PZL-Świdnik factory in Poland.

The five new W-3WA Sokół helicopters will be configured for VIP transport and used by the Polish Air Force to provide transport services for senior military and government personnel. Featuring outstanding operational capability, the W-3A has proven to be a very effective, rugged and reliable helicopter in all conditions. Deliveries of the five aircraft will be completed by the end of 2013.

Separate contracts for the upgrading of 14 helicopters have also been signed comprising the upgrade of four W-3 Sokół helicopters to W-3PL Głuszec armed configuration, the overhaul and upgrade of eight Mi-2 helicopters and the upgrade of two W-3VIP helicopters with a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) system.

Deliveries of the upgraded W-3PL Głuszec helicopters will be completed in the second half of 2014 and represents the second batch in a plan to upgrade a total of 32 helicopters in the next five to six years, forming the back bone of Poland’s combat support capability.

Mieczysław Majewski, President of the Management Board, PZL-Świdnik said “We are delighted to have secured these contracts with the Ministry of National Defence for the production of new helicopters and the cost effective upgrade of existing helicopters in the Polish MoD’s inventory. These contracts recognise that in Świdnik we have the capability to develop, manufacture and upgrade helicopters, providing outstanding support to our customers.”

Nicola Bianco, Managing Director, PZL-Świdnik said “We are proud that the W-3WA Sokół has been selected for the important and high profile VIP transport requirement. This selection and recent export successes confirms the W-3 Sokół as a highly attractive product in the market. The W-3PL Głuszec programme also highlights PZL-Świdnik’s ability to undertake complex major upgrade programmes. The next challenge for PZL- Świdnik is to provide the most attractive solution for the Polish Ministry of Defence’s tender for 26 helicopters: we have the product, the overall capability, experience and the organization to properly serve the Armed Forces.”

PZL-Świdnik is Poland’s only helicopter manufacturer with the full capability to design, develop, manufacture and support its products in country. PZL-Świdnik with 3,500 employees is also the biggest aerospace manufacturer in Poland and one of the biggest employers in South East Poland. As well as producing helicopters, PZL-Świdnik is also a leading manufacturer of aircraft structures for many aerospace companies around the world.


17-01-12, 01:43 PM
Better pic..............

20-01-12, 04:47 AM
Army’s New Helos Will Be Designed With Spec Ops in Mind

Army aviation officials, including several from the special operations side of the house, last week revealed that the special operations community will have a say in the design of the next generation of Army choppers.

When asked last week during an army aviation conference sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army last week if the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment will get its own tricked out version of the service’s new armed aerial scout (AAS) chopper, Col. Vincent Reap, deputy commander of the 160th said no, but:

Attributes of being faster are certainly better, a lesser signature is better whether that signature be acoustic, visual or other [think radar and infrared evading stealth tech].

Whether or not SOF [special operations forces] would see that as a requirement peculiar from what the Army is looking at for its AAS, I don’t think that is necessarily true. Even were it true, certainly we believe that SOF wouldn’t be able to afford it. SOCOM and its resourcing authority does not stand to be able to build an aircraft that would be unique and sort of disparate from what the Army would do.

In short, no, but the more detailed answer would be a discussion and sharing of the particular requirements that SOF would see for rotary wing fire support platforms tied very closely with the Army as it needs to do and perhaps modify as necessary.

While the 160th — and from what Reap said, big Army aviation — are hoping to get a faster, stealthier scout chopper, it will be interesting to see how that requirement plays out against the services planned demo of existing choppers that could be pressed into service as the next gen scout. All of the birds slated to fly in that effort are existing airframes that don’t offer a huge leap ahead in speed and stealth. Then again, they could be modified for the 160th like the stealth Black Hawks that were used for the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound last year.

Enter special ops contributions to the Joint Multirole Rotorcraft (JMR) effort:

As soon as Reap was done speaking, his fellow aviator, Col. Charles Yomant — who has the vague title of Director, Army Compartmented Element, United States Army Special Operations Command — said that the Army’s SOF community is making sure spec ops capabilities are included in the service’s effort to develop a next-generation family of helos under the Joint Multirole Rotorcraft project.

“We’re working very closely with [Maj. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield’s] team on inserting our requirements into the future vertical lift, JMR, program so that they’re built into the platform up front.

Crutchfield himself then chimed in, saying that a SOF aviator is working with his team at Fort Rucker, Ala., to make sure that JMR is developed with special operations missions in mind.

What we need to do is do what we’re saying right now; make sure as we’re laying out requirements for the future vertical lift that it includes what SOF aviation needs. Even in the end state, there will be special packages on that same airframe, every aircraft will not be outfitted as a special operations aircraft. But, if we don’t share requirements, we don’t share ideas now, I think it will be too late in the end when we get to 2030.

Again, we are including the requirements of special operations aviation [in the JMR effort] which I’m not sure we’ve done a good job of in the past.

This last sentence is very interesting since JMR, or potentially AAS, would mark the first time a brand new Army helo is designed from the ground up to accomodate SOF missions. Think about it, the entire Army spec ops aviation fleet is made up of modified designs – MH-60s, MH-6s and MH-47s – that predate the 160th SOAR.

(The image above are Army concepts of what JMR might look like)

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2012/01/19/armys-new-helos-will-be-designed-with-spec-ops-in-mind/#ixzz1jxzCIoc9

25-01-12, 01:07 PM
Israel tests hover control system with Black Hawk

By: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv

1 hours ago


The Israeli air force has begun testing a new altitude hold and hovering stabilisation system developed for its Sikorsky CH-53 assault helicopters using a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.

Trials were launched recently by the air force's flight-test centre using a Black Hawk which has been modified with navigation systems from a Boeing AH-64 Apache. The service has said its utility helicopters require a navigation system upgrade before receiving the new safety enhancement.

Developed jointly by the Israeli air force and Finmeccanica subsidiary DRS, and currently being installed on the former's CH-53s, the new computer system receives inputs about altitude, ground speed and acceleration from its host aircraft's flight control system.

Once engaged, the altitude hold and hovering stabilisation system enables the aircraft to automatically hold station within a virtual "box" measuring 1m². This allows precise hovering at an altitude as low as 10ft (3m), before a pilot can disengage the system and takes manual control before landing.

© Yuvalr/Wikimedia Commons

02-02-12, 01:51 PM
Whales inspire rotor blade efficiency study

02 February 2012 - 12:23 by Tony Osborne in London

After studying humpback whales, scientists working for the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have discovered and flight tested a way of making helicopters more manoeuvrable, it has been revealed.

The scientists had been studying the issue of 'dynamic stall' created when lift separates from a blade moving backwards. The stall creates turbulence resulting in increased drag, and putting loads on rotor head control rods. The issue limits the speed of helicopters and their manoeuvrability, while vibration levels make the flight uncomfortable for passengers.

'Stalling is one of the most serious problems in helicopter aerodynamics – and one of the most complex,' said Kai Richter from the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Göttingen, Germany.

The scientists looked to nature in a bid to solve the dynamic stall issues and fell upon pectoral fins on humpback whales. These fins, according to the scientists, feature bumps along the front edge. Research found that the bumps 'cause stalling to occur significantly later underwater and increase buoyancy'.

The DLR team translated the idea of using bumps for delaying the onset of stalling to helicopter rotors, and patented it as Leading-Edge Vortex Generators (LEVoGs).

Experiments on the LEVoGs conducted in the wind tunnel proved successful, so the team fitted them to the DLR's Bo105 research helicopter. As part of the DLR SIMCOS (Advanced Simulation and Control of Dynamic Stall) project. Some 186 rubber LEVoGs were glued to each of the helicopter’s four rotor blades.

'The pilots have already noticed a difference in the behaviour of the rotor blades,' explained Richter.
'The next step is a flight using special measuring equipment to accurately record the effects.'

If the idea proves successful, the researchers hope that existing helicopters could be retrofitted at little expense. For new helicopters, LEVoG-like contours could be milled into the front edges of existing titanium blade designs during the manufacturing process.

12-02-12, 02:12 AM
Heli-Expo 2012: AgustaWestland advances civil tiltrotor plans

11 February 2012 - 22:45 by Tony Osborne in Dallas, US

AgustaWestland is pushing forward with its plans to certify the AW609 civil tiltrotor under its own steam.

The company, which bought out Bell's share of the project in 2011, has stepped up flying rates on the two existing prototypes and is building new infrastructure in Italy and the US as test flying prepares to enter the certification testing phase at the beginning of 2013.

The company hopes to achieve certification under the FAA's 'Powered Lift' category for the first half of 2016.

The Bell-Agusta Aerospace Company, now wholly-owned by AgustaWestland, has been reformed as the AgustaWestland Tiltrotor Company (AWTRC) and operates out of a newly-built facility at Arlington Municipal Airport near Dallas, from where the first prototype is conducting test flying. Meanwhile, at Cascina Costa near Milan the company is building a new hangar and a runway that will allow STOL procedures to be developed allowing increased range and payload.

Previously, it has been suggested that a rolling take-off could allow the aircraft to increase its take-off weight to around 18,000 lb (maximum vertical take-off weight is 16,800 lb). With the range extended mission radius could be extended out to around 315 nautical miles.

The company says that work is now progressing on the construction of the third prototype, which will be used to develop the de-icing system while the fourth aircraft will feature an updated avionics system that will feature in production aircraft.

Clive Scott, commercial manager for the AW609, said that the avionics suite would be a critical part of the aircraft's capability allowing it to flying into, through and then above the weather and would feature satellite-based navigation and an enhanced vision system.

Robert LaBelle, managing director of AWTRC, said that the 40 customers ordering 70 aircraft had been encouraged by the renewed progress now being made.

Scott said the customers had ordered the aircraft for a range of missions and that the customers included government agencies, although he would not elaborate from where.

The company has completed some 650 flight hours on the two prototypes - suggesting the fleet has flown around 100 hours since September 2010. Pilots have explored some 85% of the flight envelope including one-engine inoperative operation, auto-rotation and vortex ring state. The aircraft has also been flown to 25,000 ft and speeds of up to 300 kts in a dive.

Bell is still heavily involved in the programme providing engineering expertise and information transfer but the firm's role is likely to diminish however as the aircraft approaches certification.