All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

MMC: Replacement
of the Milan

The French Defence Procurement Agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement) successfully carried out the first firing of MMP (Missile de Moyenne Portée or Medium Range Missile), the successor to the Milan weapon system. Carried out at the DGA Techniques Terrestres site in Bourges (central France), the firing test served to confirm MMP’s excellent accuracy in locking onto a target at a distance of more than 4,000 m and that was hidden from view at launch. This success is the result of the coordinated efforts of both state (DGA and French Army) and industrial (MBDA France) participants.

MMP (Missile de Moyenne Portée or Medium Range Missile) in operation
MMP (Missile de Moyenne Portée or Medium Range Missile) in operation

MMP is a high technology, new generation missile forming one of the French MoD’s (Ministry of Defence) new programmes within the Military Planning Act 2014-2019 aimed at modernising the French Army.

This versatile missile, conceived by MBDA France, is currently in its development phase following the notification of a development contract by the DGA on 3rd December 2013. It will enable the armed forces to neutralise, with a high level of precision, the many different types of target that might be confronted during operations, ensuring that collateral damage is kept to a minimum and at the same time maximizing the safety of the operator. The delivery date of the system to the French Army is scheduled for 2017. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, in total the army has ordered 2,850 missiles and 400 firing posts from MBDA, with the missile not only intended to arm infantry personnel but also intended to be vehicle-launched from platforms such as the army’s upcoming Jaguar 6×6 reconnaissance vehicle.

Further test firings have already been programmed by the DGA Techniques Terrestres to take place during the first quarter of 2015.

MMP on MPCV Turret at Eurosatory 2014
MMP on MPCV Turret at Eurosatory 2014

 

MMP (Missile de Moyenne Portée)

MBDA is currently developing MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée), the medium range, ground combat as a successor to MILAN (the eponymous anti-tank system supplied to over 40 armies around the world). MMP is a fifth generation weapon system responding to the requirements outlined within the French Army’s FELIN and SCORPION programmes. FELIN is a programme aimed at developing the necessary equipment for the French infantryman of the future while SCORPION will advance the integration and coordination of the range of equipment deployed by future French ground forces, calling for wide-ranging digitisation and platform interoperability. In this respect, MMP is also relevant to other ground forces around the world that are in the process of preparing for the requirements of the battlefield well into the future.

MMP’s entirely new concept takes into consideration the experience gained from recent conflicts, where the need to master the delivery of military effects without collateral damage has been shown to be a major operational requirement.

MMP is man portable (the missile in its tube weighs only 15 kg), easy to set up and operate by a two-man team. It is the ideal combat support weapon for the modern soldier who might be called upon to fight either out in the open battlefield or from confined spaces within a complex urban environment. The system can be used either in conjunction with a lightweight, portable digital firing post (weighing only 11 kg, battery included) or alternatively, mounted on a typical armoured vehicle.

High level of day and night, all-weather reconnaissance and identification capability
High level of day and night, all-weather reconnaissance and identification capability

Its shaped tandem warhead (MMP features a unique selectable charge depending on the intended target) provides lethality at ranges of up to 4 km against a wide range of stationary or moving ground targets from bunkers and machine gun posts to tanks equipped with the latest Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA).

Equipped with a non-cooled, dual-mode visible/infrared seeker, MMP is able to engage both hot and cold targets. To ensure operator survivability, MMP’s «fire-and-forget» capability allows the operator to fire and disengage immediately without having to wait for the missile to strike its intended target. However, in a complex environment where collateral damage is a concern, MMP’s optic fibre link enables MITL (Man-In-The-Loop) operation.

Combined with a navigation function integrated within the missile, the optical link via the missile allows for a full NLOS (Non Line Of Sight) operation as well, a function further enhanced within a modern info-centric environment. These are the features that combine to create a true 5th generation combat support weapon.

MMP represents the first missile within a family of ground and air-platform launched surface combat missiles. These missiles will share not only the same airframe diameter but also significant elements of technology in line with MBDA’s GMA (General Missile Architecture) strategy, a strategy aimed at reducing both cost and development risk.

Rapid reaction operation, firing sequence reversibility
Rapid reaction operation, firing sequence reversibility

 

Features

  • Lightweight weapon system, easily man-portable
  • High level of day and night, all-weather reconnaissance and identification capability
  • Confined space firing capability
  • Rapid reaction operation, firing sequence reversibility
  • Lethality against a wide target set: hot and cold targets, including latest MBTs (Main Battle Tanks)
  • Collateral damage risk minimization

 

MMP missile

  • Dual-band seeker (uncooled IR and TV channel)
  • MEMS IMU (MicroElectroMechanical Systems Inertial Measurement Unit) for inertial navigation
  • Two-stage main propulsion system (soft launch)
  • Multipurpose tandem warhead capable of defeating 1,000 mm of RHA (Rolled Homogeneous Armour), 2,000 mm of concrete
  • Maintenance free
The missile also intended to be vehicle-launched
The missile also intended to be vehicle-launched

 

MMP interactive firing post

  • Fully digitized
  • Latest generation IR band 2 and day camera
  • Laser range finder
  • GPS and magnetic compass
  • Autonomous operation and NCW (Network-Centric Waveform) compatible
  • Modular to facilitate integration on combat vehicles

 

MMP training simulators

  • Gunnery training simulator for indoor training
  • Combat firing simulator for technical firing instruction and tactical training in the field

 

Range: 4,000 m

Real time data-link

Three operating modes:

  • Fire-and-Forget;
  • Man-In-The-Loop with fibre-optic data-link;
  • Lock-On-After-Launch (NLOS and using third party target coordinates).
Lightweight weapon system, easily man-portable
Lightweight weapon system, easily man-portable

 

Dual-band seeker:

  • Uncooled IR;
  • TV channel.

 

Missile

Weight (incl. tube):                    15 kg

Length:                                              1.3 m in tactical canister

Diameter:                                        140 mm

Range:                                                4,000 m

Real time data-link (fibre-optic)

 

Interactive firing post:

  • Weight (incl. tripod and battery): 11 kg;
  • Autonomous with battery or can be connected to external power sources.

 

The latest (fifth) generation land combat missile system designed for dismounted infantry as well as for integration on combat vehicles. Featuring both fire-and-forget and man-in-the-loop operation, network-enabled MMP also receives third party target coordinates for indirect firing scenarios. MMP’s design includes the growth potential necessary for a future family of missiles for modern land combat.

Smart gun

More firepower, improved accuracy and smart integrated accessories that connect to command and control networks are the headline features of the new integrated assault rifle concept that Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and Colt Canada have developed for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Canada’s proposed “smart gun” design combines a 5.56-mm automatic rifle using case-telescope ammunition and either a 40-mm grenade launcher or a 12-gauge (18-mm) shotgun, increasing firepower and improving tactical flexibility
Canada’s proposed “smart gun” design combines a 5.56-mm automatic rifle using case-telescope ammunition and either a 40-mm grenade launcher or a 12-gauge (18-mm) shotgun, increasing firepower and improving tactical flexibility

The prototype, in development since 2009 through the Soldier Integrated Precision Effects Systems (SIPES) project, includes a firing mechanism to shoot lightweight cased telescoped ammunition, a secondary effects module for increased firepower and a NATO standard power and data rail to integrate accessories like electro-optical sights and position sensors.

In order to support the multi-role nature of the weapon, the prototype’s secondary effects module features the ability to install either a three round 40-mm grenade launcher, or a 12-gauge (18-mm) shotgun. When optimized, the integrated weapon prototype could weigh less than a C7 equipped with a M203 grenade launcher, reducing the burden on soldiers.

«In the medium term, this weapon concept represents a lethal, flexible general-purpose platform», said Lieutenant-Colonel Serge Lapointe, from the Soldier Systems group in Director Land Requirements – Soldier Systems (DLR 5) of the Canadian Army. «It will be able to operate in all theatres of operations in the most complex terrain including urban areas, mountains, jungles, deserts and the Arctic».

When optimized, the integrated weapon prototype could weigh less than a C7 equipped with a M203 grenade launcher, reducing the burden on soldiers
When optimized, the integrated weapon prototype could weigh less than a C7 equipped with a M203 grenade launcher, reducing the burden on soldiers

The development of the weapon prototype posed a considerable challenge. DRDC scientists analyzed advanced material technologies that could replace the metal used in heavy components. The lightweight case telescoped ammunition was tested extensively with the support of the Munitions Experimental Test Centre in Valcartier, Quebec to assess its long-term aging behaviour. Scientists also studied how to increase the rifle’s accuracy using technology that can automatically detect targets and assist with engaging them. Questions related to the sensors needed to accurately geo-locate targets for target data sharing were also investigated.

How the soldier interacts with the weapon was also the subject of numerous human factor trials. Ergonomic and weapon prototype handling tests were performed by Human Systems Inc., under the supervision of DRDC scientists, with CAF soldiers from military bases in Petawawa and Edmonton. The testing was crucial to developing optimal design criteria to meet the CAF’s needs for the Small Arms Modernization project.

In addition, lessons learned by both DRDC personnel and the CAF during their deployment in Afghanistan revealed critical elements that informed the prototype weapon development process with respect to its design and functionality.

In order to support the multi-role nature of the weapon, the prototype’s secondary effects module features the ability to install either a three round 40-mm grenade launcher, or a 12-gauge shotgun
In order to support the multi-role nature of the weapon, the prototype’s secondary effects module features the ability to install either a three round 40-mm grenade launcher, or a 12-gauge shotgun

«The results of the first phase of the project have shown that DRDC expertise can be used to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with solid scientific data so they can make more informed decisions for their major acquisition projects», said Dr. Guy Vézina, the Director General for S&T Army, DRDC.

The new weapon prototype is a promising development for the soldier of the future. The integration of electronic components will allow soldiers to generate or receive data from the command and control network. In the next phase of development, automated target detection and assisted target engagement will be the subject of an in-depth study in the Future Small Arms Research (FSAR) project.

Finally, the development of the integrated weapon prototype and the continuing analysis of promising technologies should facilitate the acquisition of the next generation of small arms by the CAF. The data collected and the analyses documented so far by DRDC scientists will be used in conjunction with the data and analyses that will be generated in the FSAR project to develop the technical criteria that will form part of the statement of operational requirement documentation for the CAF Small Arms Modernization project.

The keel of Wichita

The Lockheed Martin industry team officially laid the keel for the U.S. Navy’s thirteenth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Wichita, in a ceremony held at Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette, Wisconsin, on February 9, 2015.

Lay the keel is a shipbuilding term that marks the beginning of the module erection process, which is a significant undertaking that signifies the ship coming to life
Lay the keel is a shipbuilding term that marks the beginning of the module erection process, which is a significant undertaking that signifies the ship coming to life

Ship sponsor Mrs. Kate Staples Lehrer completed the time-honored tradition and authenticated the keel of Wichita (LCS-13). Mrs. Lehrer had her initials welded into a sheet of the ship’s steel, which will ultimately be mounted in the ship throughout its entire service. «This is an honor and a pleasure for me to be a sponsor of the USS Wichita», said Mrs. Lehrer. «My right hand will remain forever in a salute to those men and women who are building and to those who will serve on this special ship».

Wichita is a flexible Freedom-variant LCS that will be designed and outfitted with mission systems to conduct a variety of missions including anti-surface warfare, mine countermeasures and submarine warfare. The industry team building Wichita has delivered two ships with six others in various stages of construction and testing. The nation’s first LCS, USS Freedom, completed a U.S. Navy deployment in 2013, and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is currently deployed for 16 months to Southeast Asia. These two deployments demonstrate how the ship class is addressing the U.S. Navy’s need for an affordable, highly-networked and modular ship unlike any other in the world.

The industry team building Wichita has delivered two ships with six others in various stages of construction and testing
The industry team building Wichita has delivered two ships with six others in various stages of construction and testing

«This ship class, and the industry team behind it, has shown it can adapt to meet the Navy’s most challenging missions and provide a powerful, modular platform», said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems at Lockheed Martin. «We have leveraged best practices and incorporated improvements based on sailors’ feedback to ensure the fleet is prepared and empowered to fight, operate and support the ship in the littorals and open seas worldwide».

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team includes ship builder Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, as well as nearly 900 suppliers in 43 states. «The LCS 13, Wichita, is a tangible measure of the collaboration and strength within this industry team», said Jan Allman, president and chief executive officer of Marinette Marine Corporation. «I’m extremely proud of our skilled workforce, the hardworking men and women that transform the LCS from a design into a powerful warship that will serve an invaluable role in the Fleet. Through Fincantieri’s expansion and improvement in our facility, Marinette Marine was tailored to grow with this program, and we look forward to continuing our valuable partnership with the U.S. Navy».

Lay the keel is a shipbuilding term that marks the beginning of the module erection process, which is a significant undertaking that signifies the ship coming to life. Modern warships are now largely built in a series of pre-fabricated, complete hull sections rather than a single keel, so the actual start of the shipbuilding process is now considered to be when the first sheet of steel is cut and is often marked with a ceremonial event.

 

The USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is operating in the vicinity of the tail section and is supporting Indonesian-led efforts to locate the downed aircraft. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos)

 

Maritime patrol

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) introduces the new generation ELI-3360 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) based on a modified Bombardier Global 5000 business-jet platform.

IAI's new generation ELI-3360 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
IAI’s new generation ELI-3360 Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Designed by IAI’s ELTA Group to provide maritime domain situational awareness and maritime superiority, the new MPA provides the most sophisticated surveillance, reconnaissance and armament systems to be installed on a business-jet to date.

The system incorporates the advanced ELTA ELM-2022 Maritime Patrol Radar, an electro-optical sensor, the ELL-8385 ESM/ELINT (Electronic Support Measures/Electronic Intelligence) system, and a comprehensive communications suite comprising radios, broadband SATCOM (Satellite Communications) and data-links as well as advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) and self-protection Suite.

The integrated multi-mission Command & Control Suite includes multi-purpose operator workstations and a weapon and stores management system, which controls the under-wing weapons that may include torpedoes and anti-ship missiles for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) as well as dispensable Search & Rescue (SAR) stores.

The new generation ELI-3360 joins IAI’s series of Special Mission Aircraft (SMA), and is based on IAI’s 30 years of experience in supplying advanced maritime domain sensors and integrated systems to leading customers worldwide. IAI’s line of business-jet SMA includes the operationally proven Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW), and the G-V Signal Intelligence Aircraft (SEMA) – the world’s first business-jet based mission aircraft.

Since IAI’s pioneering conception of business-jet SMA, the SMA market has moved steadily over the past decade towards cost-effective business jets. High endurance, speed, range and multi-mission versatility of such SMAs is unmatched by large commercial transport aircraft or turbo-props.

«IAI provides leading-edge airborne, maritime and land-based solutions for persistent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance», said Nisim Hadas, IAI Executive VP and ELTA President. «This allows our customers a choice of the right combination of ISR assets to meet their operational needs. The new business-jet based MPA, in concert with UAS and shore-based systems will provide unmatched maritime domain superiority for the benefit of our customers».

«We are delighted that IAI ELTA continues to put their confidence in the Global 5000 aircraft, relying on the platform to host its integrated mission solutions», said Stephane Villeneuve, Vice President, Specialized Aircraft, Bombardier. «With its superior operational capabilities, the Global 5000 aircraft is the ideal choice for IAI ELTA’s next generation Maritime Patrol Aircraft».

Bombardier's Global 5000 aircraft is now FAA and EASA 'steep approach certified'
Bombardier’s Global 5000 aircraft is now FAA and EASA ‘steep approach certified’

 

Bombardier Global 5000

The Global 5000 business jet is designed to deliver optimized comfort, speed and range. It is unsurpassed in its class, with superior cabin spaciousness, technologies and aesthetics. It’s extraordinary short-field and non-stop transcontinental capabilities, combined with its leading-edge flight deck reduce pilot workload and increase situational awareness giving unprecedented peace-of-mind. Grace, power and levels of performance without compromise.

 

GENERAL

Capacity

Passengers: 12 (standard configuration)

Engines

Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 turbofans

Thrust: 14,750 lb/6,691 kgf/65.6 kN

Flat rated to ISA + 20°C

Avionics and cabin communication

Bombardier Vision flight deck

Four Large Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display Screens

Head-Up Display System, Enhanced Vision System and Synthetic Vision System

Graphical Flight Planning

Weather Radar with enhanced functionality like windshear detection

Latest Performance Based Navigation:

  • Wide Area Augmentation System;
  • LPV (Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance) Approach;
  • RNAV (Area Navigation), En-route RNP & RNP AR (Required Navigation Performance Authorization Required) Approaches.

Controller Pilot Data Link Communication

Onboard Maintenance System

Datalink, High Speed SATCOM

Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft boasts advanced avionics and systems technologies
Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft boasts advanced avionics and systems technologies

 

PERFORMANCE

Range*

At M 0.85:                                                     5,200 NM/9,630 km

* Theoretical range with NBAA IFR (National Business Aviation Association Instrument Flight Rules) Reserves, ISA (International Standard Atmosphere), 8 pax/3 crew. Actual range will be affected by speed, weather, selected options and other factors.

Speed

High-speed:                                                   0.88 Mach/504 KTAS*/934 km/h

Typical cruise speed:                                0.85 Mach/487 KTAS*/902 km/h

* Knots True AirSpeed

Airfield performance

Takeoff distance (SL, ISA, MTOW*):      5,540 feet/1,689 m

Landing distance (SL, ISA, MLW**):        2,670 feet/814 m

* Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight

** Maximum Landing Weight

Operating altitude

Maximum operating altitude:                    51,000 feet/15,545 m

Initial cruise altitude (MTOW):                 41,000 feet/12,497 m

 

DIMENSIONS

Exterior

Length:                                                                     96 feet 10 in/29.5 m

Wingspan:                                                              94 feet 0 in/28.7 m

Wing area:                                                              1,021 feet2/94.9 m2

Height:                                                                      25 feet 6 in/7.7 m

Interior

Cabin length:                                                         40 feet 9 in/12.41 m

(From cockpit divider to most aft cabin without baggage compartment)

Cabin width centerline:                                   7 feet 11 in/2.41 m

Cabin width floorline:                                       6 feet 6 in/1.98 m

Cabin height:                                                          6 feet 2 in/1.88 m

Weights

Maximum ramp weight:                                   92,750 lb/42,071 kg

Maximum takeoff weight:                               92,500 lb/41,957 kg

Maximum landing weight:                               78,600 lb/35,652 kg

Maximum zero fuel weight:                            58,000 lb/26,308 kg

Typical basic operating weight:                    50,861 lb/23,070 kg

Maximum fuel weight:                                        39,250 lb/17,804 kg

Maximum payload:                                               7,139 lb/3,238 kg

Their revolutionary transonic wing, designed for speed and to reduce the effect of turbulence, makes them faster and more stable than any business jet in their class
Their revolutionary transonic wing, designed for speed and to reduce the effect of turbulence, makes them faster and more stable than any business jet in their class

Four Reapers
for the Netherlands

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Netherlands for MQ-9 Reapers and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $339 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, piloted by Col. Lex Turner flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)
An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, piloted by Col. Lex Turner flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)

The Government of the Netherlands has requested a possible sale of:

  • 4 MQ-9 Block 5 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft;
  • 4 Mobile Ground Control Stations Block 30 (option Block 50);
  • 6 Honeywell TPE331-10T Turboprop Engines (4 installed and 2 spares);
  • 2 SATCOM Earth Terminal Sub-System;
  • 6 AN/DAS-1 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS)-B;
  • 4 General Atomics Lynx (exportable) Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving;
  • Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) Systems, w/Maritime Wide Area Search capability;
  • 2 Ruggedized Aircraft Maintenance Test Stations;
  • 20 ARC-210 RT-1939 Radio Systems;
  • 8 KY-1006 Common Crypto Modules;
  • 8 Ku-band Link-Airborne Communications Systems;
  • 4 KIV-77 Mode 4/5 Identification Friend or Foe;
  • 4 AN/APX-119 Mode 4/5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Transponder (515 Model);
  • 14 Honeywell H-764 Adaptive Configurable Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Guidance Units (EGI) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (12 installed and 2 spares).

Also provided are an Initial Spares Package (ISP) and Readiness Spares Package (RSP) to support 3400 Flight Hours for a three year period, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated cost is $339 million.

The Netherlands is one of the major political and economic powers in Europe and NATO and an ally of the United States in the pursuit of peace and stability. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist the Netherlands to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This potential sale will enhance the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the Dutch military in support of national, NATO, UN-mandated, and other coalition operations. Commonality of ISR capabilities will greatly increase interoperability between U.S. and Dutch military and peacekeeping forces.

The Netherlands requests this capability to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the U.S. The proposed sale will improve the Netherland’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing improved Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance coverage that promotes increased battlefield situational awareness, anticipates enemy intent, augments combat search and rescue, and provides ground troop support. The Netherlands will have no difficulty absorbing this additional capability into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractor will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. in San Diego, California. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale may require U.S. contractor representatives to make multiple trips to the Netherlands and potentially to deployed locations to provide initial launch, recovery, and maintenance support. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

A maintenance Airman inspects an MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan Oct. 1. Capable of striking enemy targets with on-board weapons, the Reaper has conducted close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Courtesy photo)
A maintenance Airman inspects an MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan Oct. 1. Capable of striking enemy targets with on-board weapons, the Reaper has conducted close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Courtesy photo)

 

MQ-9 Reaper

Designated as MQ-9 Reaper by its U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force customers, the turboprop-powered, multi-mission Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) was developed with GA-ASI funding and provides significantly greater capabilities than Predator. First flown in 2001, Predator B is a highly sophisticated development built on the experience gained with GA-ASI’s battle-proven Predator UAS and a major evolutionary leap in overall performance and reliability.

Featuring unmatched operational flexibility, the multi-mission Predator B has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS (Knots True AirSpeed)/276 mph/444 km/h, can operate up to 50,000 feet/15,240 m, and has a 3,850 lbs (1,746 kg) payload capacity that includes 3,000 lbs (1,361 kg) of external stores. Twice as fast as Predator, it carries 500% more payload and has nine times the horsepower. Predator B provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance/strike capability for the war fighter.

An extremely reliable aircraft, it is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. Predator B is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.

Predator B is powered by the flight-certified and proven Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, integrated with Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC), which significantly improves engine performance and fuel efficiency, particularly at low altitudes.

The Predator B multi-mission aircraft is highly modular and is easily configured with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements. Predator B is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads to include: Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Lynx Multi-mode Radar, multi-mode maritime surveillance radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), laser designators, and various weapons packages.

Aircrews perform a preflight check on an MQ-9 Reaper before it takes off on a mission in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets. (Courtesy photo)
Aircrews perform a preflight check on an MQ-9 Reaper before it takes off on a mission in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets. (Courtesy photo)

 

Characteristics

Wing Span:                                      66 feet/20 m

Length:                                              36 feet/11m

Height:                                               12.5 feet/3.8 m

Powerplant:                                    Honeywell TPE 331-10

Thrust:                                                900 shaft horsepower maximum

Weight:                                              4,900 pounds/2,223 kg empty

Max Gross Takeoff Weight:  10,500 lbs/4,763 kg

Fuel Capacity:                                3,900 lbs/1,769 kg

Payload Capacity:

850 lbs internal/386 kg

3,000 lbs external/1,361 kg

Cruise speed:                                  around 200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h

Range:                                                1,000 NM/1,150 miles/1,850 km

Ceiling:                                               Up to 50,000 feet/15,240 m

Weapons:

Hellfire missiles

GBU-12 laser-guided bombs

GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition)

GBU-49 laser-JDAM

Payloads:

MTS-B EO/IR (Electro-Optical/Infrared)

Lynx Multi-mode Radar

Multi-mode maritime radar

Automated Identification

System (AIS, Aeronautical Information Service)

SIGINT/ESM (Electronic Support Measures) system

Communications relay

Power:                                               11.0 kW/45.0 kVA (Block5) (redundant)

An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained at deployed locations, while being remotely operated by pilots and sensor operators at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. (Courtesy photo)
An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained at deployed locations, while being remotely operated by pilots and sensor operators at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. (Courtesy photo)

 

Features:

  • Triple-redundant flight control system
  • Redundant flight control surfaces
  • Remotely piloted or fully autonomous
  • MIL-STD-1760 stores management system
  • Seven external stations for carriage of payloads
  • C-Band line-of-sight data link control
  • Ku-Band beyond line-of-sight/SATCOM data link control
  • Over 90% system operational availability
  • C-130 transportable (or self-deploys)

 

 

$1 million per launch

Through its Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been developing new concepts and architectures to get small satellites into orbit more economically on short notice. Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, provided an update on ALASA at the 18th Annual Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, D.C. Tousley discussed several key accomplishments of the program to date, including successful completion of Phase 1 design, selection of the Boeing Company as prime contractor for Phase 2 of the program, which includes conducting 12 orbital test launches of an integrated prototype system.

The ALASA launch vehicle would be attached under the Boeing F-15 military aircraft operating on a regular runway
The ALASA launch vehicle would be attached under the Boeing F-15 military aircraft operating on a regular runway

«We’ve made good progress so far toward ALASA’s ambitious goal of propelling 100-pound (45 kg) microsatellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) within 24 hours of call-up, all for less than $1 million per launch», Tousley said. «We’re moving ahead with rigorous testing of new technologies that we hope one day could enable revolutionary satellite launch systems that provide more affordable, routine and reliable access to space».

The 24-foot (7.3-meter) ALASA vehicle is designed to attach under an F-15E aircraft. Once the airplane reaches approximately 40,000 feet (12,192 meters), it would release the ALASA vehicle. The vehicle would then fire its four main engines and launch into Low Earth Orbit to deploy one or more microsatellites weighing up to a total of 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

Launches of microsatellites for the Department of Defense (DoD) or other government agencies require scheduling years in advance for the few available slots at the nation’s limited number of launch locations. This slow, expensive process is causing a bottleneck in placing essential space assets in orbit. The current ALASA design envisions launching a low-cost, expendable launch vehicle from conventional aircraft. Serving as a reusable first stage, the plane would fly to high altitude and release the launch vehicle, which would carry the payload to the desired location.

«ALASA seeks to overcome the limitations of current launch systems by streamlining design and manufacturing and leveraging the flexibility and re-usability of an air-launched system», said Mitchell Burnside Clapp, DARPA program manager for ALASA. «We envision an alternative to ride-sharing for microsatellites that enables satellite owners to launch payloads from any location into orbits of their choosing, on schedules of their choosing, on a launch vehicle designed specifically for small payloads».

ALASA had a successful Phase 1, which resulted in three viable system designs. In March 2014, DARPA awarded Boeing the prime contract for Phase 2 of ALASA.

Because reducing cost per flight to $1 million presents such a challenge, DARPA is attacking the cost equation on multiple fronts. The Phase 2 design incorporates commercial-grade avionics and advanced composite structures. Perhaps the most daring technology ALASA seeks to implement is a new high-energy monopropellant, which aims to combine fuel and oxidizer into a single liquid. If successful, the monopropellant would enable simpler designs and reduced manufacturing and operation costs compared to traditional designs that use two liquids, such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Once the aircraft is airborne, the ALASA launch vehicle would drop away, fire its engines and launch small satellites into Low Earth Orbit
Once the aircraft is airborne, the ALASA launch vehicle would drop away, fire its engines and launch small satellites into Low Earth Orbit

ALASA also aims to reduce infrastructure costs by using runways instead of fixed vertical launch sites, automating operations and avoiding unnecessary services. Phase 1 of the program advanced toward that goal by making progress on three breakthrough enabling technologies:

  • Mission-planning software that would streamline current processes for satellite launches;
  • Space-based telemetry that would use existing satellites instead of ground-based facilities to monitor the ALASA vehicle;
  • Automatic flight-termination systems that would assess real-time conditions during flight and end it if necessary.

DARPA plans to continue developing these capabilities in Phase 2 and, once they’re sufficiently mature, intends to eventually transition them to government and/or commercial partners for wider use in the space community.

Pending successful testing of the new monopropellant, the program plan includes 12 orbital launches to test the integrated ALASA prototype system. Currently, DARPA plans to conduct the first ALASA flight demonstration test in late 2015 and the first orbital launch test in the first half of 2016. Depending on test results, the program would conduct up to 11 further demonstration launches through summer 2016.

If successful, ALASA would provide convenient, cost-effective launch capabilities for the growing government and commercial markets for small satellites. «Small satellites in the ALASA payload class represent the fastest-growing segment of the space launch market, and DARPA expects this growth trend to continue as small satellites become increasingly more capable», Burnside Clapp said. «The small-satellite community is excited about having dedicated launch opportunities, and there should be no difficulty finding useful payloads».

 

 

Christening

Lewis B. Puller, the first purpose built at-sea platform for Mine CounterMeasure (MCM) helicopters and Special Operations Forces (SOF) was christened at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California on February 7, 2015, according to the company. U.S. Marine Corps commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

USNS Lewis B. Puller MLP-3/ASFB-1 (NASSCO Photo)
USNS Lewis B. Puller MLP-3/ASFB-1 (NASSCO Photo)

The Afloat Forward Staging Base – USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/ASFB-1) – was formally named in a ceremony at NASSCO ahead of an anticipated delivery to U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) in September. The ship is capable of supporting additional missions including: counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response.

The first two ships (USNS Montford Point and USNS John Glenn) have been designated Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP) and will operate as an interface between MSC (Military Sealift Command) cargo ships and Navy landing craft to expand the projection power of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The two planned ships in the class plan to be forward deployed assets for the Navy – one to the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Middle East and one to the U.S. 7th Fleet in the Pacific.

The Navy currently employs the Austin-class LPD, USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15), as a Middle East AFSB. In December 2014, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded NASSCO $498 million to start construction on the second AFSB.

The MLP AFSB – based on the hull of an Alaska-class crude oil tanker – is a flexible platform and a key element in the Navy’s large-scale airborne mine countermeasures mission. With accommodations for 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck (capable of fielding MH-53E Sea Dragon MCM helicopters), the MLP AFSB will provide a highly capable, innovative and affordable asset to the Navy and Marine Corps.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) was launched at the San Diego yard on November 6, 2014. Lewis B. Puller is slated to become operational in 2015 and will likely replace the current AFSB stand in – USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15). The second ship (MLP-4/AFSB-2) will most likely based in the Pacific.

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 6, 2014) The mobile landing platform Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) successfully completed launch and float-off at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) shipyard.
SAN DIEGO (Nov. 6, 2014) The mobile landing platform Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) successfully completed launch and float-off at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) shipyard.

 

General Characteristics, Montford Point Class

Builder:                                             NASSCO

Propulsion:                                     Commercial Diesel Electric Propulsion

Length:                                              785 feet/239.3 m

Beam:                                                 164 feet/50 m

Displacement:                              78,000 tons (fully loaded)

Draft:                                                 30 feet/9 m (fully loaded); 40 feet/12 m (load line)

Speed:                                               15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h

Range:                                               9,500 nautical miles/17,594 km

Crew:                                                 34 Military Sealift Command personnel

Accommodations:                      250 personnel

 

Ships:

USNS Montford Point (MLP-1)

USNS John Glenn (MLP-2)

USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) – Launched – November 6, 2014

USNS (MLP-4/AFSB-2) – Under construction

An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base
An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base

Railgun for Destroyer

According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, engineering studies to include an electromagnetic railgun on a Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG-1000) have started at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

An electromagnetic railgun prototypes on display aboard the joint high speed vessel USS Millinocket (JHSV-3) in port at Naval Station San Diego, California (U.S. Navy Photo)
An electromagnetic railgun prototypes on display aboard the joint high speed vessel USS Millinocket (JHSV-3) in port at Naval Station San Diego, California (U.S. Navy Photo)

The work will do the math to determine if the Zumwalt-class will have the space, power and cooling to field a railgun – likely replacing one of the two 155-mm BAE Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) ahead of the ship’s deck house, Vice Adm. William Hilarides told USNI News following remarks at the Office of Naval Research Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo. «We have begun real studies – as opposed to just a bunch of guys sitting around – real engineering studies are being done to make sure it’s possible».

The likely candidate for the weapon would be the third planned Zumwalt, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) currently under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) with an expected delivery date of 2018. Hilarides said the first two ships – Zumwalt (DDG-1000) and Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) – would be less likely to field the capability initially due to the schedule of testing with the new class. «The team is working diligently now but it would not happen until after delivery of the ships – probably the third ship is where we’d have it», he said. «That would certainly be my recommendation».

Vice Admiral William Hilarides became the 43rd commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
Vice Admiral William Hilarides became the 43rd commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)

The Navy is in early stages of testing and fielding a railgun – which forgoes the gunpowder in the shells of conventional naval guns and instead uses high-powered electromagnetic pulses along a set of rails to shoot a projectile at supersonic speeds.

The Navy plans to test a BAE Systems prototype railgun onboard the Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3).

Last year, then Navy director of surface warfare now commander of U.S. Surface Forces Command, Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden told USNI News the Zumwalts would be likely used as test beds for emerging technologies like railguns and directed energy weapons the Navy wants for its next large surface combatant due to the ship’s size an ability to generate power.

The second of two Office of Naval Research (ONR) Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun industry prototype launchers is being evaluated at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division
The second of two Office of Naval Research (ONR) Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun industry prototype launchers is being evaluated at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division

The Integrated Power System (IPS) on the 16,000-ton ships – powered by two massive Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two smaller Rolls-Royce RR450 – allow the ships to route and generate 80 mega-watt power – much more electrical power than the current crop of U.S. destroyers and cruisers.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said a Zumwalt would likely be the first ship to get the capability. The inclusion of the railgun does mean a capabilities trade for the ship. «We’ll go do the studies and I suspect they’ll say ‘yes,’ but it’s going to come at a cost of some of the capabilities on this ship – of course», Hilarides said. «It’s physics. Without taking something off, you’re not putting on a many ton system, so a gun would be a logical thing to take off and put the railgun in its place».

The three ship Zumwalt-class were – in part – originally designed to address a gap in naval surface fire support with the AGS firing the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) at a range of up to 75 nautical miles/139 km. Each ship is designed to field two AGS. Zumwalt is expected to deliver to the service next year.

Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) currently under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) with an expected delivery date of 2018
Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) currently under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) with an expected delivery date of 2018

Sikorsky Raider

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., announced the start of bladed ground testing, a major milestone, for the S-97 Raider program. The Raider is an armed reconnaissance rotorcraft designed to significantly outmatch conventional military helicopters in maneuverability, payload, speed, range and high/hot environmental conditions.

Imagine a next-generation multi-mission helicopter platform so advanced that it can reach speeds of more than 220 knots/253 mph/407 km/h, operating at 10,000 feet/3,000 m in 95° F/35° C of heat
Imagine a next-generation multi-mission helicopter platform so advanced that it can reach speeds of more than 220 knots/253 mph/407 km/h, operating at 10,000 feet/3,000 m in 95° F/35° C of heat

«Testing all of the aircraft’s systems together, for the first time, marks significant progress in the development of this next generation helicopter and moves the program closer to first flight», said S-97 Raider Program Manager Mark Hammond.

During the ground runs phase, the S-97 Raider team is testing the first of two aircraft prototypes as a completed system for the first time. The team will perform initial ground tests with the aircraft tied down and will focus on verifying correct operation of the propulsion system, drive train, rotor control system and pilot-vehicle interface.

This testing comes on the heels of the recent successful completion of software qualification testing, component fatigue testing, and gearbox testing, for the first S-97 Raider prototype. Sikorsky launched the S-97 Raider program in October 2010 with the objectives of maturing the X2 rotorcraft design and offering a helicopter to meet U.S. Army reconnaissance and special operations needs.

In addition to ground runs for the first prototype, the program team at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, is prepared to begin final assembly of the second prototype S-97 Raider helicopter, following acceptance last month of the fuselage structure from Aurora Flight Sciences. Sikorsky rolled out the first prototype in October 2014.

Based on Sikorsky’s rigid X2 rotor coaxial design, the S-97 Raider helicopter features next-generation technologies in a multi-mission configuration, capable of carrying six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots/253 mph/407 km/h.

«We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the Raider’s revolutionary performance and unmatched maneuverability for the U.S. Army», said Steve Engebretson, Director, Advanced Military Programs. «We’re delivering on our promise to design and build a helicopter with performance capabilities not seen before».

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter is poised to realize this vision and revolutionize next-generation military aviation
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter is poised to realize this vision and revolutionize next-generation military aviation

 

 

Sikorsky S-97 Raider Helicopter

The S-97 Raider aircraft multi-mission capabilities will meet both conventional U.S. Army and Special Operations future requirements in a variety of combat roles. Sikorsky is also reviewing potential applications for USAF, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corp services.

Like the X2 Technology Demonstrator aircraft that unofficially broke the helicopter speed record on September 15, 2010, the S-97 Raider helicopter prototypes will feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors (in place of one main rotor and a tail rotor) and a pusher propeller. For the armed reconnaissance mission, the S-97 Raider helicopter will have space aft of the cockpit for armament and auxiliary fuel. In an assault configuration, the cabin will afford space to accommodate up to six troops.

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 – increased maneuverability, greater endurance, and the ability to operate at high altitudes. Compared with other light military helicopters, the Raider prototypes are expected to significantly reduce turning radius and acoustic noise signature, while significantly increasing the aircraft’s payload, flight endurance and hot and high hover capability.

X2 technology is scalable to a variety of military missions including light assault, light attack, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue, and unmanned applications
X2 technology is scalable to a variety of military missions including light assault, light attack, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue, and unmanned applications

 

Specifications

Aircraft Features

  • Low acoustic signature
  • Exceptional hover capability
  • High cruise speed
  • Agility for close air support
  • Fly-by-wire flight controls

Multi-Mission for Operational Flexibility

  • Internal aux fuel tank for extended range/increased endurance
  • Additional ammunition capacity
  • Six seat cabin
  • Aerial refueling capable

Weights

Maximum gross weight:                      11,400 lbs/5,171 kg

Performance

HOGE* capability:                                  >6K/95

Endurance (standard fuel):               >2.7 h

Range:                                                            >373 miles/600 km

Cruise speed:                                             >200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h

Deployability

C-17 loadout:                                            4 aircraft

Payload

  • Hellfire missiles
  • 70-mm 2.75″ rockets
  • 12,7-mm .50 cal gun
  • 62-mm gun

* HOGE – Hover-Out of Ground Effect. This is the absolute limit of the helicopter’s ability to hover. Factors that contribute to this limit are density altitude, atmospheric temperature, available engine torque, and payload.

 

 

Rule, Brazil!
Rule the clouds!

Embraer successfully performed the first flight of the new military transport and aerial refueling jet, the KC-390 on February 3, 2015. Test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima and flight test engineers Raphael Lima and Roberto Becker flew the aircraft for 1 hour and 25 minutes, conducting an evaluation of flying qualities and performance.

The test aircraft, registered PT-ZNF, has a tail-mounted camera and provision for a spin chute, mountings for both of which are seen painted orange. The aircraft also incorporates a static air data cone for initial flight-test data collection
The test aircraft, registered PT-ZNF, has a tail-mounted camera and provision for a spin chute, mountings for both of which are seen painted orange. The aircraft also incorporates a static air data cone for initial flight-test data collection

«This first flight is a fundamental step toward accomplishing the task with which we were entrusted. The KC-390 is the result of a close cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force and international partners, representing what is most likely the greatest technological challenge that the Company has ever encountered in its history. We are profoundly moved for having achieved this key milestone», said Frederico Fleury Curado, President and CEO of Embraer.

«The program continues to move forward as planned and the KC-390 has drawn interest from several countries around the world», added Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. «We are proud to once again keep our commitments in the development of this aircraft, which will set a new standard in the category of tactical military transport».

«The KC-390 will be the backbone of transport aviation for the Brazilian Air Force. From the Amazon to Antarctica, the fleet of 28 aircraft will play a key role in the diversity of projects of the Brazilian State, from scientific research to the maintenance of sovereignty», noted Aeronautics Commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier General Nivaldo Luiz Rossato.

On its maiden flight, the KC-390 crew performed maneuvers to evaluate its flight characteristics and conducted a variety of systems tests, having benefited from an advanced campaign of simulations and extensive ground tests. «The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner», said Captain Louzada. «The advanced fly-by-wire flight control system and the latest-generation avionics make flying easy and render a smooth and precise flight».

At first these will be limited to carrying cargo and troops, but new capabilities will be added soon after, including aerial refueling
At first these will be limited to carrying cargo and troops, but new capabilities will be added soon after, including aerial refueling

According to Guy Norris from Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Embraer originally hoped to begin test flights before the end of last year, but took longer than expected to complete a final series of avionics integration tests following the aircraft’s rollout in October. The manufacturer has targeted initial deliveries to the Brazilian air force around the end of 2016, though this looks more likely to slide into 2017 given the ambitious flight test effort ahead of it. A second KC-390 has also been assembled and is set to join the program shortly.

Embraer has so far taken firm orders for 28 aircraft from Brazil, but is confident the fly-by-wire transport could clinch up to 20% of the Lockheed Martin Hercules C-130 replacement market, which it estimates is around 728 aircraft in 77 countries.

 

Embraer KC-390

The KC-390 is a joint project of the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer to develop and produce a tactical military transport and air-to-air refueling plane that represents a significant advance in terms of technology and innovation for the Brazilian aeronautics industry.

On May 20, 2014, Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force signed the serial production contract for the delivery of 28 KC-390 aircraft and initial logistic support. Besides the order from the Brazilian Air Force, there are current purchase intentions from other countries, for a total of 32 additional aircraft.

Two test aircraft will be involved in the two-year flight-test and certification program that will cover civilian FAR 25 clearance followed by military certification through the Brazilian military airworthiness agency, IFI
Two test aircraft will be involved in the two-year flight-test and certification program that will cover civilian FAR 25 clearance followed by military certification through the Brazilian military airworthiness agency, IFI

The KC-390 is a military transport aircraft developed to establish new capacity and performance standards in its category, delivering at the same time the lowest life-cycle cost in the market.

A genuine multimission aircraft, it can transport and launch cargo and troops, perform medical evacuation, search and rescue, as well as fight forest wildfires, among other missions. The KC-390 can also be used as aerial refueler and it has great flexibility, refueling from helicopters to high-performance fighter aircraft.

Equipped with a modern cargo handling system, the KC-390 can transport large-sized cargo such as pallets, vehicles, helicopters, in addition to troops, paratroopers, medevac stretcher or mixed configurations.

The state-of-the-art integrated avionic system and a fly-by-wire flight control facilitates the aircraft piloting, reducing pilot workload and increasing the mission’s efficiency.

The KC-390 can also be equipped with an advanced self-defense system and has ballistic protection in critical areas, which increases the survival capacity in hostile environments.

The V2535-E5 engine, rated at 31,330 pounds of thrust, was selected in July 2011 by Embraer Defense and Security and the Brazilian Air Force, which established the KC-390 requirements. While Embraer and its customers desire maximum commonality with the V2500 engine, changes have been made to optimize installation with the new airframe.

The KC-390 is the first dedicated military application for the IAE V2535-E5 engine, which is rated at 31,330 lb. thrust for the role. The engine was selected by Embraer in July 2011
The KC-390 is the first dedicated military application for the IAE V2535-E5 engine, which is rated at 31,330 lb. thrust for the role. The engine was selected by Embraer in July 2011

 

Characteristics

Length 115.5 feet/35.20 m
Wingspan 115 feet/35.05 m
Height 38.8 feet/11.84 m
Powerplant 2 × International Aero Engines V2535-E5 turbofan; 31,330 lbs/ 14,211 kgf/139.4 kN
Maximum concentrated payload 26 metric ton
Maximum distributed payload 23 metric ton
Maximum cruise speed 470 knots/541 mph/870 km/h
Maximum operational altitude 36,000 feet/10,973 m
Cabin altitude 8,000 feet/2,438 m
Ferry range with internal tank 4,640 NM/8,593 km (flight time = 11.50 h)
Range reference w/o wind 3,350 NM/6,204 km (flight time = 08.50 h)
Range with 28,660 lbs/13,000 kg 2,780 NM/5,149 km (flight time = 07.05 h)
Range with 50,706 lbs/23,000 kg 1,380 NM/2,556 km (flight time = 03.40 h)
Cargo configurations 80 soldiers
66 paratroopers
74 stretches
7 463L type pallets
3 Humvee
1 Black Hawk helicopter
1 LAV-25