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By Amy Kluber | December 3, 2010
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Systecon Receives DALO Order

The employee owned consultancy and software company Systecon AB has received an order from DALO (Danish Defense Acquisition and Logistics Organization) worth 3.5MSEK (approximately $500,000). The order is for consultancy services and Systecon´s ILS analysis tools OPUS10 and SIMLOX. Systecon’s services and tools will be used in DALO’s current acquisition of a new maritime helicopter. In the next months, proposals are expected in response to the RFQ that went to four potential suppliers in September 2010. The new helicopter will replace the 30 year-old LYNX Mk. 90B Naval helicopters currently in use. The software programs OPUS10 and SIMLOX are optimization and simulation tools from Systecon’s in-house developed software suite. OPUS10 is a leading tool for logistic support analysis and spare parts optimization and SIMLOX enables simulation of technical systems’ and their support solution’s ability to perform in different operational scenarios. “Systecon has a long experience of stating and achieving the correct availability performance at the lowest possible life cycle cost, especially in the development, acquisition and maintenance of technically complex military systems. We are very pleased to receive this order from DALO, and we believe this is start of an expansion in Denmark,” Olle Bååthe, Systecon’s head of business area defense, said.

VSI, Elbit Launch JHMCS Depot Repairs


Vision Systems International (VSI) along with Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd., joined the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group in a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 18 to celebrate the activation of depot repair capability for Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) prime mission equipment at Robins Air Force Base. This public/private partnership will ensure a continuous flow of serviceable assets to the war fighter for continued mission capability and weapon systems reliability. The continued operational availability and reliability of the JHMCS system is critical to U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy warfighters as well as Foreign Military partners around the world. VSI and its public partner, the 567th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, will perform depot level repairs and certifications of JHMCS components. The JHMCS electronic unit repair capability is currently online and active, with serviceable units being delivered to both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy supply chains. For the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Colonel Victoria Reed, Commander 402nd EMXG was joined by Raanan Horowitz, president and CEO of ESA, Drew Brugal, president of VSI, Kurt Huff, vice president ESA Services and Support Solutions, and Ron Buck, program manager of the JHMCS Aerospace Sustainment Directorate. “The opening of this Robins Depot marks a major milestone in the JHMCS program and will facilitate rapid repair of JHMCS assets. This partnership ensures that JHMCS will continue to provide our war fighters with unmatched situational awareness, operational advantage and mission ready assets for years to come,” Brugal stated. “Elbit Systems of America is pleased to commemorate the beginning of a strong partnership that is the result of the collaborative efforts and dedication of many people,” added Horowitz. The JHMCS provides the pilot with “first look, first shot” high off-boresight weapons engagement capabilities. The system enables the pilot to accurately cue onboard weapons and sensors against enemy aircraft and ground targets without the need to aggressively turn the aircraft or place the target in the head-up display field-of-view for designation. Critical information and symbology, such as targeting cues and aircraft performance parameters, are graphically displayed directly on the pilot’s visor.

Rheinmetall, Sikorsky Offer Cyclone to Replace German Navy Sea Kings

Rheinmetall and Sikorsky recently presented the Cyclone Naval Helicopter at a joint press conference in Bonn. With a view to the German Navy's planned procurement of thirty multi-role naval helicopters to replace its current Sea King systems, the companies have joined forces with additional partners in a pioneering alliance. With spare parts for the Sea King increasingly hard to come by and levels of operational readiness for remaining aircraft no longer adequate, the Germany Navy's requirement for new systems is deemed to be urgent. The Cyclone helicopter from Sikorsky offered by the German Multi-Role Helicopter Team, in which Rheinmetall plays a decisive role, is viewed as a promising candidate for procurement. Within the Sikorsky consortium, Rheinmetall is in charge (among other things) of future system logistics and in-service support (ISS), and will also be responsible for the full range of instruction and flight crew training operations. The Cyclone helicopter meets the German Navy's requirements. It is capable of simultaneously performing multiple roles, including maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare operations and engaging surface combatants. It is also equipped for search and rescue missions.

Sikorsky S-92 Fleet Tops 250,000 Flying Hours

The Cyclone helicopter contains proven, previously fielded technology. Recently selected by the Canadian Navy, the aircraft (dubbed the CH148) is currently undergoing successful trials. In terms of technology, the Cyclone derives from the extensively used civilian S-92 civilian helicopter. This aircraft is particularly popular with oil and gas companies, which use it for servicing offshore platforms worldwide, e.g. in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and the waters off Newfoundland, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and China. In just six years—a record time for a commercially used helicopter— the S-92 fleet has successfully reached the figure of 250,000 flight hours, having entered service in September 2004. The aircraft's demonstrated durability, combined with speed, strength and range, make it an ideal basis for supplying future military users with a robust and reliable platform for performing a wide variety of missions. The cyclone is a genuine multipurpose helicopter, featuring expandable architecture for German options and subsequent modifications. The German Navy's new helicopter is to be deployed primarily in ship-based mode on its 124/125-class frigates and 702-class combat support ships. Among the new naval helicopter's tasks will be maritime surveillance and generating an operational picture at sea; search and rescue at sea, with enough carrying capacity to evacuate ten rescued crewmembers; reconnoitring suspicious vessels, including engagement of hostile surface combatants with torpedoes and guided anti-ship missiles; anti-submarine warfare; conducting boarding operations; and transporting tactical personnel and/or material.

Lockheed Martin JAGM Hits Target

Lockheed Martin scored a hit on a main battle tank at six kilometers in a company-funded, multiple-mission firing of its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM). The complex flight test, at White Sands Missile Range, NM, demonstrated the ability of the imaging infrared (I2R) sensor in the missile’s cooled tri-mode seeker to lock on before launch at extended range. The test also demonstrated the ability of the millimeter wave (MMW) radar sensor to simultaneously track a nearby moving tank, as well as the ability of the two sensors to discriminate targets and to hit the target of choice. Other test objectives included characterization of the launch shock environment, free-flight environment characterization and verification of design maturity, including demonstrating the success of corrective actions following minor anomalies in earlier tests. “This test was an extremely challenging first-time event, considerably more complex than any of the three contract-funded tests,” said Frank St. John, vice president of Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “In addition to confirming the ability of our cooled tri-mode seeker to detect and lock onto threats from safe standoff range, we also demonstrated multi-sensor correlation and high-fidelity target discrimination.” Propelled by the single multi-platform rocket motor the company has designed for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program, the tactically configured JAGM was fired from a static Lockheed Martin HELLFIRE M299 launcher. The cooled I2R sensor acquired and locked on to a stationary main battle tank prior to launch from six kilometers. Following launch, the I2R sensor guided the missile to a lethal hit. Concurrently, the MMW sensor detected and tracked a nearby secondary target, a moving main battle tank. “The test also verified the success of corrective actions we implemented to resolve anomalies from two earlier flight tests,” St. John said. “This multiple-engagement flight experienced no anomalies and sensor performance was optimal, increasing confidence in the maturity of our design going into EMD.” Coupled with an August 2 target hit at 16 kilometers in a contract-funded test of the semi-active laser (SAL) seeker, this latest shot completed the process of demonstrating the performance of Lockheed Martin’s tri-mode seeker. The August 2 test was a static launch against a target board 16 kilometers downrange to assess performance of the SAL seeker in a lock-on-after-launch profile. The target was illuminated by a ground-based laser designator 1.1 kilometers from the target at a 20-degree offset angle. Following launch and activation of the laser designator, the SAL seeker acquired the laser spot and successfully guided the missile to the target, scoring a hit. Of the three JAGM sensor modes, the I2R is passive; it picks up the threat’s heat signature without radiating detectable energy that makes the launch platform vulnerable to counter-fire. The other two sensor modes, SAL for precision strike and MMW to penetrate adverse weather and battlefield obscurants, defeat countermeasures and more accurately acquire moving targets, are both active. “In establishing the flight profile for the company-funded shot, we moved the range for the I2R engagement from four to six kilometers because passive target detection from safe standoff range is critical to platform and aircrew survivability,” said Hady Mourad, JAGM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The cooled I2R also provides clear target discrimination, which reduces collateral damage. This is especially critical when rules of engagement demand confirmation of target track prior to launch.” “Flawless sensor correlation in the cooled tri-mode seeker is what allows JAGM to fill the eight identified capability gaps,” said St. John. “We demonstrated this in earlier contract-funded tests in which the cooled tri-mode seeker penetrated battlefield obscurants and defeated all threat countermeasures. As in all our tests, we used a tactical configuration, thereby significantly reducing risk going into EMD.” Threshold aviation platforms for JAGM include the U.S. Army’s AH-64D Apache attack helicopter, MQ-1C Extended Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) unmanned aerial system (UAS) and OH-58D CASUP Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter; the U.S. Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter; and the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk armed reconnaissance helicopter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter. Initial operational capability (IOC) of JAGM on the AH-64D, AH-1Z and F/A-18E/F is scheduled for 2016; IOC for the MH-60R, OH-58 CASUP and MQ-1C is 2017. Numerous additional platforms are under consideration, including the Tri-Service Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 being developed by Lockheed Martin with an anticipated initial fielding in 2011.

Last Prototype AW159 Lynx Wildcat Goes Airborne

AgustaWestland recently announced 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 program including Selex Galileo; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC – a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation.

New UH-72A Lakota Security Package Aircraft Showcased

The Product Office for the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter, the UH-72A Lakota showcased its latest version of the prototype aircraft Nov. 16 at the Sparkman helipad on Redstone Arsenal.  The aircraft was first showcased at Fort Rucker Nov. 15 and at the Pentagon Nov. 18. “We wanted to introduce the modified UH-72A and its new capabilities to Army leadership to make them aware of the aircraft’s ability to meet the Army National Guard requirements,” said Lt. Col. Dave Bristol, product manager for Lakota helicopters. “The MEP significantly improves the UH-72A capabilities for conducting the Security & Support (S&S) mission,” added Bristol.  The aircraft provides long-range electro-optical sensors and the ability to record and down link data, which will aid the ARNG in its Homeland Security, Counter Drug, and Border Patrol missions. “This aircraft is unique in that it is primarily a commercial-of-the-shelf product,” said Col. Neil Thurgood, project manager for utility helicopters on Redstone Arsenal.  “This is a success story of the joint efforts with the National Guard and the project office in creating a package that is exactly what they’d like it to become, and it meets all the requirements.” The Lakota is an example of rapid acquisition of a new system that is commercial/non-developmental item due to flexibility in requirements and the willingness of the Army leadership and staff to think outside-the-box. “The S&S MEP required that all of the component parts be commercially available,” said Bristol.  “The program has been successful due to the hard work of the National Guard Bureau, PEO (Aviation), EADS North America, American Eurocopter and other contractors.” Included in the kit is a turreted L-3 Wescam MX-15i electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor and laser pointer; EuroAvionics EuroNav V RN6 moving map system and two SkyQuest eight-inch, touch-screen displays; a video management system, SkyQuest VRDV-4010 digital video recorder (DVR) and data downlink system; plus additional avionics and Sierra Nevada Tactilink Eagle data communications equipment.  The helicopter is also equipped with a 30-million-candlepower Luminator LS16 searchlight that is mounted on the aft starboard step and slaved to the MX-15, and the same Goodrich 44301 series rescue hoist that is included in the Lakota’s medevac MEP. The Lakota has progressed on schedule and within budget constraints and has been well received by Army aircrews, said Thurgood. “The product office’s success is a testament to our determination to support homeland security missions and to the warfighter.”  The program began in 2008 with a plan to equip the first unit in the summer of 2011. Ninety-nine aircraft will receive the S&S MEP.  The first retrofit will be completed in May 2011; that aircraft will be fielded in June 2011.  “As of now the first unit to receive the UH-72A is based at Tupelo, Mississippi,” said Bristol. The rapid acquisition, production and fielding of the UH-72A Lakota aircraft over the last three and a half years has allowed the Army to transfer twenty-four UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft to other missions that support overseas contingency operations.  It has allowed the retirement of aging UH-1 and OH-58A/C by replacing them with modern, capable aircraft. The U.S. Army plans to acquire 345 Lakotas through 2016, and the service has ordered 202 of the helicopters so far, along with five H-72A versions for the U.S. Navy.  More than 25,000 flight hours have been logged to date at an operational readiness rate of more than 90 percent. UH-72A Lakota serial 09-72099 S&S MEP conducted its first flight test at the American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Miss. facility on June 16. 

Lockheed Martin Unveils Army CIRCM Team

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, DRS Technologies and Daylight Solutions announced recently that they are partnering to address the U.S. Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) Technical Development requirement. The CIRCM program will provide laser defeat capability to rotary-wing aircraft operating in close terrain flying missions where man portable air defense systems represent a significant threat. “Lockheed Martin has assembled a solid industry team to architect the next generation in rotary-wing survivability,” said Matt Milligan, Platform Survivability Program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our team offers advanced technology to attack the CIRCM program’s critical survivability requirements, while keeping in mind affordability and minimized size, weight and power.” Lockheed Martin’s CIRCM solution is a lightweight laser defeat system that incorporates a pointer tracker and commercial off-the-shelf processor and quantum cascade laser. It has been successfully integrated with the existing Common Missile Warning System and is compatible with next-generation missile warning systems. The system’s compact, streamlined design and modular open system architecture make it adaptable to a wide range of rotary-wing platforms and expandable to new threats and missions. CIRCM platforms will include the U.S. Army AH-64, UH-60 and CH-47 rotary-wing aircraft. DRS Technologies’ Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition business group is an experienced provider of advanced electro-optic infrared technology and is leveraging previous expertise with Distributed IRCM towards this team’s CIRCM solution. Daylight Solutions has developed and demonstrated quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology for Defense and Security applications. Daylight has integrated its QCL technology into their JammIR product line, resulting in lightweight, military-hardened multi-wavelength laser systems that have performed successfully in distributed infrared countermeasure applications. In order to deliver an affordable, multi-service solution for IRCM, Lockheed Martin is leveraging more than 30 years of experience in infrared missile warning system development and production, as well as experience in laser pointer/tracker technology. On programs such as Arrowhead, Sniper® Advanced Targeting Pod and the F-35 Electro-Optical Targeting System, Lockheed Martin focuses on delivering reliable, affordable solutions to meet Warfighters’ needs.

S-70i Black Hawk Takes to Polish Skies

An S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter has flown in Poland for the first time, marking an historic milestone for the helicopter line being produced by Sikorsky Aircraft’s company in Poland, PZL Mielec. PZL Mielec is the final assembly center for the S-70i helicopter, the newest BLACK HAWK variant, which is being produced for the international market. The aircraft that took flight in Poland today is the second helicopter to be produced at PZL Mielec. “The S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter program has been executed seamlessly and Sikorsky Aircraft celebrates this landmark moment,” said Robert Mastronardi, S-70i senior program manager, Sikorsky Military Systems. “With each milestone our team was focused on producing an exceptional and unique product, while continuing to globalize our company. We are witnessing the growth of a new generation of internationally built BLACK HAWK helicopters ready to serve world markets.” While the second aircraft in the new line begins to accumulate production flight test hours, the first-ever S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter recently completed flight testing in the United States and is being fitted out with options. 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. In addition, the next two aircraft in the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter program are in final assembly at PZL Mielec, with a fifth aircraft slated to begin production in December. Deliveries to the launch customer of the S-70i helicopter program are expected to begin in 2011. “For the employees of PZL Mielec, this first flight is the culmination of exceptional coordination with Sikorsky and dedication to our collective mission: to produce a remarkable new helicopter and continue the tradition of aircraft performance superiority,” said Janusz Zakrecki, CEO of PZL Mielec. “Beyond PZL Mielec, this milestone sends a much broader message: the new S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter is here.” In preparation for flight-testing capabilities to be done at PZL Mielec, the company refurbished an existing hangar and paint shop to create a world-class facility that will be the production test flight hub for the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter program. 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.

Second AW139 Goes to General Security of Libya

AgustaWestland also announced that the General Security of Libya has taken delivery of its second AW139 medium twin-engine helicopter. The aircraft is part of a total order for five AW139s sold in Libya to perform a range of roles also including border patrol and Search and Rescue and was delivered by the all new LIATEC’s (Libyan Italian Advanced Technology Company) facility at Abou Aisha airport. The start of deliveries for the General Security’s AW139s sets a major milestone in the cooperation of AgustaWestland with Libya through one of the most successful models in its large and complete product range. The AW139 adds to other successful AgustaWestland’s types sold to Libya in recent years, namely the AW119Ke single engine for emergency medical service duties and the AW109 Power light twin for border patrol missions, and further expands the General Security AgustaWestland-made fleet, which already includes ten AW109 Power helicopters. AgustaWestland boasts sales for over 20 helicopters of various types in Libya since 2006 as well as an industrial and maintenance services presence through LIATEC, a Joint Stock Company incorporated in Libya and established through an agreement signed in January 2006 by the three shareholders - Libyan Company for Aviation Industry (50 percent), Finmeccanica (25 percent) and AgustaWestland (25 percent). Based 60 km South of Tripoli, the Abou Aisha facility was officially opened in April this year and includes final assembly lines for single and twin engine helicopters. The final assembly of helicopters expands on the existing maintenance and training activities performed by LIATEC. The new facility will also enable LIATEC to expand its support and maintenance capabilities for helicopters as well as for upgrading training and transport airplanes with the latest generation of avionic systems. LIATEC is also already offering maintenance and training services at its facility in Tajura, East of Tripoli, for rotary wing aircraft and aircrew. A comprehensive range of training services is being provided including basic, advanced, conversion to type and mission training for rotary and fixed wing pilots. Maintenance training for various platforms and systems is also being provided to aircraft technicians. Support services, covering the AW119Ke, AW109 family and AW139 helicopters, comprise a range of solutions including helicopter and airplane maintenance and refurbishment, overhaul and up-grades, helicopter interior refurbishment and spare parts supply, repair and overhaul as well as avionic and instrument maintenance. LIATEC is also promoting industrial cooperation with local industries and with local universities in the field of research and development. LIATEC is hiring all of its personnel from within Libya and it is committed to improving local employment through the utilization of young engineers and specialists coming from Libya’s specialised schools and universities. LIATEC also intends to expand its influence by promoting its capabilities and products in Africa, opening a real ‘Gateway to African Market.

Bell, U.S. Army to Develop Drive System Technologies

Bell Helicopter and the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate have signed a $30 million Technology Investment Agreement to develop state-of-the-art drive system technology under the Future Advanced Rotorcraft Drive System (FARDS) program. The FARDS program is focused on critical performance and affordability enhancing drive system technologies for the U.S. Army's Current/Future Force fleet of rotorcraft, as well as commercial rotorcraft. The program is targeting a 55 percent improvement in drive system power-to-weight ratio, a 35 percent reduction in production, operating and support costs, 90 percent automatic detection of critical failures and an 18 decibel reduction in drive system-generated noise. "FARDS is a great opportunity to develop key technologies to serve as the foundation of a rotorcraft drive system for the year 2015 and beyond," said Ryan Ehinger, Bell Helicopter program manager for FARDS. "Drive systems are a core technology at Bell Helicopter, and we are proud to focus on enhanced capabilities for those whose livelihoods depend on our products." The agreement, worked through Bell's Xworx organization, brings together a diverse group of subcontractors with unique expertise in the fields of materials, processing, heat transfer, diagnostics and more, complementing Bell's design and manufacturing strengths. The five-year FARDS program will develop more than 18 new technologies resulting in full scale demonstrations of a main rotor gearbox and tail rotor driveshaft system. "The goals are challenging, but it will be exciting to see how the results of this collaboration transition to the commercial and military product lines," Ehinger said. "We are looking forward to contributing to this important initiative."

Turkey Orders Nine Additional T129s

AgustaWestland announced that it has been awarded a contract for nine T129 combat helicopters. The contract is valued at €150 million ($196 million) also including a spare parts package. The nine T129 helicopters will be assembled by Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) and delivered by mid 2012 in a basic configuration, one year earlier of the 51 T129s already on order. This contract increases the total ordered by the Turkish Land Forces Command to 60. TAI is the Prime Contractor for the overall ATAK Program, with ASELSAN as the supplier of avionics and mission equipments while AgustaWestland is acting as subcontractor to TAI. As the Prime Contractor of the ATAK Program, TAI is responsible for ensuring the T129 ATAK helicopter meets all the operational requirements of the Turkish Land Forces Command. “I am delighted that the order for nine additional T129 helicopters has been executed today at SSM,” Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland said. “The announcement at this stage of the programme confirms again customer’s confidence in the capabilities of the platform as well as the ability of the ATAK Team to manage on schedule the development of the most important Turkish aerospace programme ever. Moreover it confirms how the partnership between AgustaWestland and its partners is able to effectively respond to customer’s urgent requirements allowing the Turkish Land Forces to achieved T129 operational readiness one year earlier.” The T129 program continues to the planned schedule with both the System Requirements Review and Preliminary Design Review completed in 2009. The Critical Design Review will be completed shortly, with significant improvements introduced to add additional sophisticated mission equipments specified by the Turkish Land Force Command and SSM, including the new indigenously design and develop UMTAS missile. Prototypes are being assembled in both Italy and Turkey starting their flight test program in January 2011.

Boeing, Netherlands MoD Ink MRO Agreement

The Boeing Company and the Netherlands Ministry of Defence Logistic Center Woensdrecht today entered a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) framework agreement to expand the center’s capabilities and develop opportunities for Dutch industry. The alliance is aimed at ensuring the readiness of CH-47 Chinook and AH-64D Apache helicopters operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force, as well as broadening regional MRO activities through support of other military and civilian aircraft. "Enhancing our depot capabilities in conjunction with Boeing and Dutch industry will improve our mission to support the Dutch military’s Chinook and Apache rotorcraft," said Air Commodore Peter Ort, director of the Logistic Center Woensdrecht, Directorate of Materiel Organisation, Netherlands Ministry of Defence. “This agreement also fits the ‘Maintenance Valley’ initiative supported by the new Dutch government to bolster the Netherlands’ position as a regional hub for military and civilian aircraft MRO activities." Signing the agreement with Ort was Peri Widener, director of Army Integrated Logistics for the Global Services & Support business of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "Boeing has partnered with the Dutch Ministry of Defence for decades through aircraft programs including the Chinook and Apache," Widener said. "We have demonstrated our international experience in delivering affordable, reliable logistics, sustainment and MRO solutions to maximize global readiness for our customers. We are focused on strengthening our ties with the Netherlands and contributing to the Dutch aviation industry and economy." The agreement follows a November 2009 teaming agreement between Boeing and the World Class Aviation Academy of the Netherlands to provide customers in the region with military maintenance training on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. The Logistic Center Woensdrecht (LCW) is the Netherlands Ministry of Defence agency and center of expertise for air weapon systems, communication systems and mission support. The LCW performs logistics activities as well as system integration, maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade activities. With combined technical and logistic expertise, the LCW serves its operational users and other partners within and outside the Netherlands.

U.S. Army Announces OH-58 A2D Bell Conversion

Bell Helicopter announced that the U.S. Army initiated a contract for the OH-58 "A2D" cabin conversion upgrade program for the highly successful OH-58 platform. "We are pleased and proud that the United States Army has awarded us the first phase of the "A2D" agreement," said John L. Garrison, president and chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter. "We have enjoyed a long tradition of cooperation and innovation with the U.S. Army and the "A2D" program is yet another example of this tradition." The "A2D" conversion program is an Army initiative to replace wartime losses suffered by the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. This conversion program takes an existing "A" model OH-58 and upgrades them to "D" model. "The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a significant workhorse for our combat operations fleet," said COL Robert Grigsby, Army's Armed Scout Helicopter project manager. "This conversion will ensure the Kiowa Warrior continues to be a combat multiplier on the Joint and combined battlefield across the full spectrum of military operations." The agreement calls for an initial conversion of eight cabins with an option for a second group of ten. After the conversion of the 18 OH-58A aircraft, and establishment of a "hot" production line, Bell Helicopter will be in a position to respond to the Army's potential requirement to replace wartime losses with "new metal" cabins reducing overall fleet age. The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior has the highest OPTEMPO (approximately 90 hours per month per aircraft flight utilization rate), highest readiness rates (in excess of 85 percent Full Mission Capable) in the U.S. Army combat fleet of aircraft, and is the most requested close air support aircraft in theater today. The Kiowa Warrior has surpassed 630,000 total combat flight hours. Bell is also developing an OH-58 Block II fleet representative demonstrator to facilitate prototyping activities to benefit U.S. Army future requirements. The Block II OH-58 provides an attractive, cost efficient alternative to the U.S. Army and U.S. taxpayer.

State Department Orders Two More Upgraded S-61s

Sikorsky Aerospace Services has announced an order for two upgraded S-61 utility helicopters for use in Afghanistan to support drug interdiction efforts. Earlier this year, the State Department entered into a five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (“IDIQ”) contract for up to 110 upgraded S-61 aircraft for passenger and cargo transport missions in support of its worldwide operations. This IDIQ purchase agreement serves as the contracting vehicle for any U.S. Government agency to purchase upgraded S-61 aircraft. As a result of this latest order, two aircraft will support the U.S. Embassy and assist in the counternarcotics missions of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department ordered 11 additional upgraded S-61 utility helicopters for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This order brings the total number of upgraded S-61 purchased to 17 aircraft. The first four aircraft ordered in February are currently in completion and are scheduled for deployment in Afghanistan this fall,” added Anthony Serksnas, director, S-61 Programs. The S-61 helicopter is known as an industry workhorse, and for more than 50 years has reliably and safely performed missions for U.S. and foreign allied militaries. The upgraded S-61 incorporates key components including composite main rotor blades (CMRB), a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and modular wiring harness—all of which dramatically improve aircraft supportability. Additional features have been incorporated to reduce pilot fatigue and maintenance requirements for increased safety.

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