Attack — The U.S. Army and Boeing expect first flight of the AH-64D Apache Block 3 prototype by July 2008. The aircraft is to enter service in mid-2011.
Attack/Observation — A contractor for AgustaWestland in late October machined the first monolithic panel, a lower fuselage bulkhead, for the first Future Lynx. AgustaWestland is building battlefield reconnaissance and surface-combatant variants for the British Army and Royal Navy, respectively. First flight is slated for late 2009.
Utility — Canada named a team led by Montreal-based CAE as the sole qualified bidder to provide operational training systems to support its procurement of Boeing CH-47 Chinooks. It now will request a formal proposal from CAE to provide the systems and training services over 20 years. Canada is still negotiating a contract to acquire Chinooks.
Utility — BAE Systems through an internal effort is pursuing development of a remote-controlled defensive weapon to provide 360 deg of suppressive fire for the Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey. The Remote Guardian System is designed to be belly-mounted on the aircraft.
Utility — The U.S. transferred 26 Bell Helicopter 412s and four refurbished AH-1 Cobras to Pakistan’s army at a ceremony in Islamabad Oct. 22. The aircraft are part of a long-term, $235 million U.S. project to build Pakistan’s army aviation’s capability.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — Boeing’s turbine-powered A160T Hummingbird was slated to complete an 18-hr endurance flight with a 300-lb payload in late October.
Utility — Elbit Systems, Haifa, Israel, has completed the first phase of an almost £6 million ($12 million) upgrade to the U.K. Royal Navy’s Westland Sea King HC4s. The work will support the aircraft’s operational deployment to southern Afghanistan later this year.
VIP/Head of State — The U.S. Defense Acquisition Board postponed a Nov. 2 review of the VH-71 presidential helicopter program while the lead contractor, Lockheed Martin, refines a proposal for the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command to restructure the delayed and over-budget program to replace U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky Aircraft VH-3Ds and VH-60Ns with a Bell Helicopter-built variant of the AgustaWestland EH101. Lockheed Martin faces a deadline this month to submit that plan to NavAir.