The Los Angeles Police Dept. has ordered four Airbus H125 AStars, the manufacturer said Feb. 24. This is part of a helicopter replacement initiative. Two aircraft have been delivered and are currently undergoing completion, and two more are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of this year. The department also expects to sign for additional orders in the coming years.
The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support has tapped Airbus to retrofit 26 of German Defence’s Sikorsky CH-53s, Airbus said Feb. 27. The manufacturer is to perform obsolescence management for components no longer available in the market. With this contract, Germany hopes to have the rotorcraft operational until at least 2030. Work is to start this year and be completed by 2022.
Work on four more Airbus H125s has been contracted, Airbus announced on March 1. QinetiQ has signed for four rotorcraft as part of a modernization effort for the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS), which QinetiQ manages with the U.K. Ministry of Defence. Worth some $15.7 million, the deal has Airbus upgrading the helicopters with three-axis autopilot, dedicated communications equipment and traffic awareness systems. Airbus is also to deliver a flight test instrumentation suite, used to test and evaluate design and performance. The contract also includes aircraft modification and 10 years of full HCare support. The H125s are expected to enter service in early 2019.
Sikorsky has delivered an S-70i Backhawk to defense electronics firm Aselsan to use as the prototype for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP), the manufacturer said. Sikrosky can now integrate an Aselsan-developed avionics suite into the Turkey's new T70 utility rotorcraft and later into the Turkish-built Sikorsky S-70i.
The avionics solution is dubbed the Integrated Modular Avionics System (IMAS), designed by Aselan, Sikorsky, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and pilots from the Turkish Armed Forces. It has been designed to comply with the requirements of Turkish T70 operators and other potential customers. Eventually, the aircraft is to be marketed internationally. IMAS features smart displays, point-and-click funcationally for quick input and ergonomic enhancements to the pilot vehicle interface. Navigational features include an integrated terrain avoidance warning system, integrated digital map and coupled flight control functions.
Sikorsky delivered the rotorcraft after a nine-hour flight from Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec factory in Poland. As it was a 930-nm journey, two fuel stops were required.
Vector Aerospace Corp. has leased five modified Airbus Helicopters AS332L Super Pumas to Starlite Aviation, Vector said Feb. 27. The multi-year lease arrangement was facilitated by Vector Financial Services, based in Dublin, in partnership with Airbus Helicopters.
The aircraft were upgraded with engine filters, dual Garmin navigation systems and tracking systems and other modifications. Two of the rotorcraft were modified at a Vector facility in the U.K., with the three other aircraft upgraded at a Vector facility in Canada. Both of these locations are Airbus-approved maintenance centers for its AS332 Super Puma family.
Starlite deployed the rotorcraft last December to Africa. There, the support efforts to facilitate civilian operations by transporting passengers and cargo. The company is supplying pilots, maintenance leadership and administration to support the Super Pumas.
The U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command has tapped Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems to exercise options for the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) integrated with the Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk. Announced by the U.S. Defense Dept. Feb. 28, the deal is worth more than $17.8 million. The mine system detects, classifies and localizes near-surface, moored, sea mines. Work is to be performed in Melbourne, Florida, and has an expected completion date of March 2019.
Frasca is set to deliver seven advanced aviation training devices (AATD) to Air Evac, Frasca said March 2. The Bell Helicopter 206/407 training devices are to be used by 600 pilots for recurrent air ambulance and inadvertent instrument meterological conditions (IIMC) training.
The devices would feature a glass LongRanger IV cockpit with Garmin Gh00H and GTN650 avionics and Genesys Aerosystems HeliSAS autopilot. Frasca’s TruVision visual system is also included. Of the seven, two simulators should be able to reconfigure in less than an hour to train Bell 407 pilots. They should also have cockpit panels and performance software.