Attack — McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Corp. of Mesa, Ariz. is under contract to the U.S. Army to study means of improving the main rotor mast of AH-64 aircraft through 2009.
Attack — Russia’s top air force official has expressed satisfaction with testing of the Rostvertol Mil Mi-28N strike helicopter. Air Force commander-in-chief Vladimir Mikhailov said the aircraft has demonstrated high reliability in testing at Rostvertol’s Rostov-on-Don plant.
Attack/Utility — Bell Helicopter delivered the first production AH-1Z attack helicopter to the U.S. Department of Defense Jan. 25. Earlier in January, it delivered the first UH-1Y utility helicopter. These two types comprise the H-1 program to provide 280 upgraded aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps.
Disaster Relief — Indonesia’s North Sumatra region is considering purchasing a helicopter to speed up the distribution of relief aid to remote areas following an earthquake and landslide in the Muara Sipongi district in December that highlighted the inability to transport relief workers and aid quickly. North Sumatra is just one of 21 provinces in Indonesia prone to natural disasters.
Heavy-Lift — German lawmakers have approved defense ministry plans to hire Eurocopter to upgrade its CH-53G fleet. The ministry plans to retire 13 of 93 CH-53Gs by 2012 and upgrade 40 to the CH-53GA variant between 2011 and 2014.
SAR — Last year’s 10-week strike at Sikorsky Aircraft is one reason Canada won’t get the first of 28 CH-148 Cyclones until early 2008. Based on the S-92, the CH-148s were to start arriving in later November to replace Canada’s aging fleet of Sea King search-and-rescue aircraft.
Transport — The U.S. Defense Dept. has OK’d a multi-year acquisition of Bell/Boeing V-22 Ospreys, long a goal of those companies and the services planning to fly the tilt-rotor aircraft. The decision permits ordering 141 U.S. Marine Corps and 26 Air Force V-22s for delivery between 2008 and 2012.
Unmanned — A U.S. Army pilot in an AH-64D Apache successfully received live video feed from an unmanned aerial vehicle 40 nm (75 km) away in a January demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The UAV was a 50-lb, 3-ft (23-kg, 1 m) Honeywell Micro Air Vehicle developed for the Army’s Future Combat Systems. The test checked software, logistics and communications systems.