All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Armed Helicopter

According to Yonhap News Agency, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), a South Korean defense firm, plans to roll out the prototype of a Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) for the country’s Army in December, its officials said Sunday, 25 November.

An image of a Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) provided by the company (Yonhap)
An image of a Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) provided by the company (Yonhap)

The LAH is to replace an aging fleet of the Army’s attack choppers, including MD500s and 70 AH-1S Cobras.

«Following the rollout of the LAH’s prototype next month, an engine test is scheduled in March next year and a maiden flight in May», a KAI official said.

Based on the Eurocopter EC 155 helicopter, the LAH is designed to fly at a speed of upward of 324 kilometers per hour/201 mph/175 knots and have a range of some 905 km/562 miles. Its maximum take-off load is 4.9 tons/9,800 pounds with the chopper to be equipped with a 20-mm gun and anti-armor guided missiles made locally.

The first operational LAH is set to be delivered to units toward the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, KAI has resumed talks with the Philippines on the possible sale of Surion KUH-1 multi-role choppers, according to its CEO Kim Jo-won.

KAI’s export bid came to a halt with the fatal crash in July of a Marineon operated by South Korea’s Marine Corps. An investigation team said a defective rotor master provided by a subcontractor was apparently responsible for the accident.

Marineon is a variant of Surion that’s specialized for use with the Marine Corps.

Kim said his firm restarted «technology talks» with the Philippines last week on the possibility of supplying Surions to the archipelago nation.

Competing models include the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.

If KAI succeeds in exporting the Surion to the Philippines, Indonesia could be a potential buyer as well, Kim said during a recent press conference at the company’s headquarters in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.

Sea Trials

The fourth Italian General-Purpose frigate (IT-GP), and the eighth Italian FREMM to be delivered, ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) finished her sea trials on the 20th of November, after the completion of all tests foreseen for the Platform and Combat System equipment.

The Italian Navy’s eighth FREMM-class frigate, ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597), completed her sea trials on November 20, and her Final Official Acceptance by the Italian Navy is scheduled for April (OCCAR photo)
The Italian Navy’s eighth FREMM-class frigate, ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597), completed her sea trials on November 20, and her Final Official Acceptance by the Italian Navy is scheduled for April (OCCAR photo)

As occurred last year for ITS Federico Martinengo (F-596), ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) has completed sea trials in only five months after the First Sea Going in last June, confirming the strong coordination that exists between all the actors involved in the programme (NAVARM/UTNAV, IT Navy, FREMM PD, and Industry).

Indeed, in each of the thirteen scheduled sea trials, the effective coordination of all stakeholders played a key role in order to complete all trials on schedule although the activities at sea were challenging, with different GFx (at least ships, airplanes and helicopters).

Starting from ITS Alpino (F-594), delivered to the Italian Navy in 2016, the «Zero ANT» (Activities Not Terminated) objective requested by Italian Navy is the goal to be accomplished. In order to take this achievement through in line with the contractual schedule, the Final Official Acceptance of ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) is scheduled for next 16th of April.

ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597): end of the sea trials
ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597): end of the sea trials

 

Main Characteristics

Length overall 472.4 feet/144 m
Width 64.6 feet/19.7 m
Depth (main deck) 37 feet/11.3 m
Displacement 6,700 tonnes
Maximum speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Crew 145 people
Accommodation Up to 200 men and women
CODLAG PROPULSION SYSTEM
Avio-GE LM2500+G4 32 MW
Electric propulsion motors 2 × 2,5 MW
Diesel Generator (DG) sets 4 × 2,1 MW
Propellers 2 × Controllable-Pitch Propeller (CPP)
Endurance 45 days
Range at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h 6,000 NM/6,905 miles/11,112 km
COMBAT SYSTEM
Anti-Air Warfare (AAW)/ Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) Capabilities
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Defence
Electronic Warfare (EW) Capabilities

 

Supply for the RAN

Navantia has launched today the first AOR (Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment) «Nuship Supply» of a series of two, for the Royal Australian Navy, according to contract signed in May 2016.

Navantia launches Nuship Supply for the Royal Australian Navy
Navantia launches Nuship Supply for the Royal Australian Navy

The ceremony was held at the Ferrol facilities at 4:15 pm coinciding with the high tide, and has counted with the attendance of Mrs. Jenny Barrett, as the godmother of the ship, the president of Navantia, Susana de Sarriá, the Ambassador of Australia to Spain, Julie-Ann Guivarra, and the Royal Australian Navy Chief of Navy, VA MJ Noonan.

The president of Navantia was grateful to the Australian Navy for the confidence deposited in the Company that once again has demonstrated the aptitude to design and build the products and services for the most competitive markets, in time and quality. She added that launching a new ship, means that Navantia shows, once again, an enormous potential and with the upcoming Strategic Plan and the F110 frigates, will guarantee supporting these capacities in the future.

The two ships are based on the Spanish Navy ship «Cantabria» which will be tailored to fulfil specific Australian standards and requirements. The agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia also includes the sustainment of the two AOR ships for a period of five years.

This contract means a workforce of 3 million hours for this area, as well as 35,000 hours for the Cartagena shipyard derived from the engines, and 35,000 for Navantia Sistemas derived from the IPMS. That makes a total of 1,800 jobs until 2020.

Besides, this contract includes a significant amount of participation from Australian industry, with companies such as Raytheon as supplier of the Communication System, Saab Australia as supplier of the Combat System, Scientific Management Associates (SMA) as suppliers of engineering services and Baker and Provan as supplier of cranes. In relation to Support, all the sustainment activities will be performed in Australia (NSW and WA) with Navantia Australia and its subcontractors, which has been partnering with Australian companies since 2007.

Beyond Line Of Sight

EU Defence ministers have endorsed on 19 November the EU BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) project amongst a list of 17 defence projects aiming at being implemented in the frame of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Proposed by France and supported by Belgium and Cyprus, the EU BLOS project is the first missile system project to benefit from this new cooperation framework.

The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities
The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities

Promoting a differentiating operational capability for military operations, this project will contribute to a consistent and autonomous European approach in the land combat domain whilst enhancing the qualitative contribution of European nations to the achievement of NATO’s level of ambition. The land combat domain has been recognized since June 2018 as one of the 11 European capability priorities.

The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities. Based on the MMP missile system, this family of products will be fully mastered by European industry, which provides full autonomy of use, security of supply and future evolutions, to the benefit of the 25 PESCO member nations. One of the first priorities of this project will focus on defining a European doctrine of use and its associated concepts of operation. This project will pave the way for the creation of a European users club which will develop the growth potential of the MMP missile system in terms of missile evolutions as well as in terms of integration to a wide range of land and air platforms.

The EU BLOS project will also benefit from the CAMO (CApacité MOtorisée) bilateral strategic partnership between France and Belgium, helping build operational and capability synergies across the armies of both nations.

HForce weapon system

The Serbian Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin visited the Airbus Helicopters Donauwörth site to accept the first H145M for the Serbian Air Force. In December, two H145Ms will be delivered to the Serbian Ministry of Interior. Altogether, Serbia will receive nine H145Ms, earmarked for the Air Force and for the Ministry of Interior. Four of the Air Force’s aircraft will be equipped with the HForce weapon management system.

Serbia receives first out of nine H145Ms
Serbia receives first out of nine H145Ms

«We assess the implementation of the contract as an example of successful cooperation and positive business practice», said Aleksandar Vulin. «All the activities so far have been carried out within the agreed deadlines, and we expect the future activities to be implemented in the same manner. We are particularly pleased to point out that the activities of the industrial cooperation covered by the contract are taking place within the planned timelines».

«I would like to thank the Serbian government and personally Defence Minister Vulin for their trust in the latest member of our H145 family and for the smooth cooperation since the negotiations started in 2016», said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany. «We see a lot more opportunities for the H145M in Europe and beyond».

The contract between Airbus Helicopters and Serbia foresees transfer of technology, spare parts, tools and documentation for the helicopters’ maintenance and repair. Airbus Helicopters will also certify Serbia’s Moma Stanojlovic aeronautical plant as a centre for the maintenance of Gazelle helicopters and will include it in its overhaul network. Airbus will also support Serbian manufacturing plants and research and development institutions to obtain relevant qualifications and certificates to become a supplier.

The H145M has several optional equipment packages that can be installed or removed depending on the assigned mission. With a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation.

The Serbian aircraft will be equipped with a fast roping system, high-performance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding operational requirements. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Serbia to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.

The H145M is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces and has since been ordered by Hungary, Thailand and Luxemburg. The programme’s maturity allows Airbus Helicopters to execute orders on cost and on schedule. Mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95 percent.

Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.

 

Characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Length (rotor rotating) 44.72 feet/13.63 m
Fuselage length 38.35 feet/11.69 m
Height 13.12 feet/4 m
Main rotor diameter 36.09 feet/11 m
Width (blades folded) 8.89 feet/2.71 m
CAPABILITIES
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg
Useful Load 3,900 lbs/1,769 kg
Sling load 3,307 lbs/1,500 kg
Maximum seating 1/2 pilots + 10/9 troops
ENGINE
2 × Turbomeca ARRIEL 2E turboshaft engines
Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) 2×771 shp/2×575 kW
Take-Off Power (TOP) 2×894 shp/2×667 kW
2 min One Engine Inoperative (OEI) 1×1,038 shp/1×775 kW
30 sec OEI-power 1×1,072 shp/1×800 kW
PERFORMANCE AT MTOW
Speed (Vne – never exceed speed) 135 knots/155 mph/250 km/h
Fast Cruise speed (Vh – maximum speed) 132 knots/152 mph/244 km/h
Maximum range 357 NM/411 miles/662 km
Hover ceiling OGE (TOP), ISA 8,858 feet/2,700 m

 

Carl-Gustaf M4

Saab has received an order for deliveries of the new Carl-Gustaf M4 multi-role weapon system to the Slovenian Armed Forces. Deliveries will take place during 2018-2020.

Saab Receives Order for Carl-Gustaf M4 to Slovenian Armed Forces
Saab Receives Order for Carl-Gustaf M4 to Slovenian Armed Forces

Slovenia is a new customer of the Carl-Gustaf system, and Saab’s ninth customer for the Carl-Gustaf M4 version since its launch in late 2014.

The Carl-Gustaf M4 is the latest version of the portable, shoulder-launched, multi-role weapon system. It gives users a wide range of engagement options and allows troops to remain agile and effective in any scenario. It builds on the system’s formidable capabilities, offering a higher degree of accuracy, lighter construction and compatibility with future innovations. The M4 is also compatible with future battlefield technology developments such as intelligent sighting systems and programmable ammunition.

«The Slovenian order is further proof that Carl-Gustaf M4 is the number one multi-role weapon on the market. We are happy to introduce the Slovenian Armed Forces to Saab’s Carl-Gustaf M4 with outperforming capabilities and high tactical flexibility, and we feel confident that the end user will be satisfied», says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics.

The new version retains all the effectiveness and versatility of the proven Carl-Gustaf system while introducing a range of major enhancements. These include a lighter weight design (weighing less than 7 kg/15.4 lbs.), a round counter, improved safety and intelligent features, such as compatibility with future intelligent sighting systems and programmable ammunition, which collectively offer significant operational improvements for the soldier. The weapon is fully backward compatible with all ammunition types.

Eclipsed aspirations

Britain’s new aircraft carrier has «eclipsed aspirations», successfully completing two months of intensive fast jet trials in the USA.

Test aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth
Test aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth

F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters have left HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) after eight weeks flying on and off the 65,000-tonne warship, helping to write the «operator’s manual» so the jets can fly from her deck on front-line operations.

The success of the Westlant 18 deployment – which has also included a very high-profile visit to New York – allows the Portsmouth-based ship to move on to operational trials next year with British-owned F-35s flown by Naval and Air Force aviators based at RAF Marham.

Two jets and four test pilots, based at the Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, joined the carrier in late September.

Since then they have performed 200 short take-offs, 187 vertical landings, and 15 «rolling» landings – a technique unique to the UK which allows a Lightning to return to the carrier with a heavier payload – and dropped 54 dummy bombs into the Atlantic.

«This has been one of the most comprehensive flight trials at sea ever conducted», said RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, ITF chief test pilot. «I am very proud to have professionally executed every aspect of this trial and deliver for the UK a capability that can be exploited for years to come».

Naval aviator Commander Nathan Gray – the first person to land a jet on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) – added: «It has been phenomenal to get through a high profile with such success. This is due to the skills of the designers of both the F-35 and the ship herself. It is beyond question that without the vision of the Royal Navy and the unfailing support of the ship’s company we would not have achieved what we have done today. I am proud to have delivered this future and enduring operational capability».

Weapons experts loaded various configurations of bombs and missiles on to the Lightnings, making use of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s unique automated munitions magazine.

ITF scientists recorded masses of data from the ship and the jets; that data will determine the limits (weather, humidity, pitch and roll of the ship, aircraft weight) at which the Lightnings can safely launch from and land back on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and her sister HMS Prince of Wales (R09).

«It goes without saying that this was a phenomenally successful shipboard detachment», said Andrew Maack, ITF Chief Test Engineer and Site Director. «I could not be more proud of the collective team effort between the ITF and the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) crew to make this happen».

Captain Nick Cooke Priest, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s new Commanding Officer who was in command for the second phase of this current set of F-35 trials said this autumn’s trials had marked «a significant milestone on the Royal Navy’s journey back to big deck carrier operations. The schedule has been busy and challenging and the results have eclipsed the aspiration; this success is largely due to the exceptional relationship that exists between the ship and her embarked staff, and the scientists, engineers and pilots of the F-35 Integrated Test Force, all of whom have shown exceptional professionalism, dedication and drive».

He continued: «This deployment has however delivered far more than the initial integration of fixed wing aircraft with the ship. It has re-introduced the true value that carrier capabilities bring to the UK and her allies, it has deepened our relationship with our closest ally, demonstrated our nation’s engineering prowess and cemented our commitment to the future as a global navy».

The carrier is now spending time in Norfolk, Virginia, offloading the ITF team and their equipment before heading back to Portsmouth in time for Christmas.

«She will come home», said Carrier Strike Group Commander Commodore Michael Utley, with a real buzz on board. «This is positive time to be a Royal Navy sailor, a positive time to be Royal Navy aircrew and a positive time for the UK-US partnership in providing a greater depth of security across the globe».

Camouflage Systems

Saab has received an order to deliver Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net Systems (ULCANS) for use by the U.S. Army. The order value is approximately USD 66 million (approximately SEK 586 million). Deliveries are expected to take place in 2019-2020.

Saab to Deliver Camouflage Systems to the U.S. Army
Saab to Deliver Camouflage Systems to the U.S. Army

The new order, comprised of both woodland and desert camouflage systems, will ensure that U.S. warfighters are equipped with the most advanced signature management systems available in the world today. Production of the new systems will take place at Saab Defense and Security USA’s business unit Saab Barracuda, based in Lillington, North Carolina.

«Saab is a recognized world leader in the development and production of signature management solutions. ULCANS provides outperforming multispectral capabilities while it remains lightweight and easy-to-handle», says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Dynamics.

Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army.

«Saab’s camouflage systems provide the U.S. Army with a state of the art signature management capability for its land forces including exceptional levels of multispectral protection against any possible sensor threat available today», concludes Erik Smith, President and CEO of Saab Defense and Security USA.

Saab draws on more than 60 years of experience designing, developing, and producing signature management solutions for the U.S. military and defense customers in more than 50 nations.

Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army
Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army

Joint Surveillance

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a 12-month, $330 million contract for Total System Support Responsibility (TSSR) of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet. The integrated total systems support contract covers TSSR Period Year 19, which began November 1, 2018 and concludes October 31, 2019.

E-8C Joint STARS aircrew members monitor moving target indication data at their operator work stations during a mission supporting BALTOPS 2018 and Saber Strike 18 exercises at Fighter Wing Skrydstrup, Denmark, June 12, 2018. The JSTARS team consists of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing (ACW), plus active duty personnel assigned to the 461st ACW and Army JSTARS. They are in Denmark to participate in BALTOPS 2018 and Saber Strike 18. JSTARS brings a unique, manned, joint airborne command control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to the exercises. During BALTOPS, the Georgia Airmen will join military forces from 17 nations to enhance flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate international resolve to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region. The Saber Strike exercise facilitates cooperation between the U.S., Estonia, Latvia Lithuania, Poland, and other allied and partner nations to improve joint operational capability in a variety of missions and prepare the participating nations and units for future operations while enhancing the NATO alliance (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sergeant Roger Parsons) (Portions of the photo have been blurred for security purposes)
E-8C Joint STARS aircrew members monitor moving target indication data at their operator work stations during a mission supporting BALTOPS 2018 and Saber Strike 18 exercises at Fighter Wing Skrydstrup, Denmark, June 12, 2018. The JSTARS team consists of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing (ACW), plus active duty personnel assigned to the 461st ACW and Army JSTARS. They are in Denmark to participate in BALTOPS 2018 and Saber Strike 18. JSTARS brings a unique, manned, joint airborne command control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to the exercises. During BALTOPS, the Georgia Airmen will join military forces from 17 nations to enhance flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate international resolve to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region. The Saber Strike exercise facilitates cooperation between the U.S., Estonia, Latvia Lithuania, Poland, and other allied and partner nations to improve joint operational capability in a variety of missions and prepare the participating nations and units for future operations while enhancing the NATO alliance (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sergeant Roger Parsons) (Portions of the photo have been blurred for security purposes)

Under the Joint STARS TSSR program, Northrop Grumman continues its longstanding partnership with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to provide total systems support to the 116th and 461st Air Control Wings for all facets of sustainment and support of the 16 aircraft Joint STARS fleet at Robins Air Force Base and forward operating locations overseas. Northrop Grumman will provide program management, engineering technical support, aircrew and maintenance training, supply chain and spares management, technical data and publications, program depot maintenance and overall customer support.

«The C2ISR division looks forward to the continued teaming with Northrop Grumman to improve critical aircraft availability to our combatant commanders while executing our Joint STARS 2030 roadmap», said Colonel David Menke, senior materiel leader, Command and Control Information Systems (C2ISR) division, digital directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Air Force.

«While supporting the Joint STARS mission over the past 33 years, we have focused on keeping the high-demand E-8C fleet available and mission capable for the combatant commanders. Our commitment to the supported soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen at the forward operating locations remains steadfast», said Jane Bishop, vice president, military aircraft surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

«The 24/7 support we provide to our warfighters under TSSR coupled with the rapid fielding of new capabilities is an effective way to ensure mission success. We completed the Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized upgrade in just 12 months and are now implementing a fifth-generation upgrade to the fleet’s central computers», Bishop added. «The E-8C’s continue to serve as a low-risk pathfinder for the U.S. Air Force through continued fleet capability enhancements while the Air Force develops the follow-on advanced battle management system».

Joint STARS is the only platform in the U.S. arsenal that combines accurate wide-area moving target detection with synthetic aperture radar imagery to locate, classify and track surface targets in all weather conditions from standoff distances. The fleet has flown more than 130,000 combat mission hours in support of the U.S. Central Command since September 11, 2001.

Team JSTARS, consisting of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing, the active-duty 461st Air Control Wing and Army JSTARS detachment, provides joint airborne command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support over land and water to combatant commanders around the globe. The total force integration unit operates the world’s only Joint STARS weapon system based out of Robins Air Force Base. In addition to work at Robins Air Force Base, TSSR is supported by employees and partners at the Northrop Grumman Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence in Melbourne, Florida, the Lake Charles Maintenance and Modification Center, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and more than 30 major suppliers across the United States.

Quiet Supersonic

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works began manufacturing the first part for the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft, marking a milestone to bring supersonic commercial travel over land one step closer to reality.

Supersonic Commercial Travel Begins to Take Shape at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
Supersonic Commercial Travel Begins to Take Shape at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

«The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel», said Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. «The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom. As we enter into the manufacturing phase, the aircraft structure begins to take shape, bringing us one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world».

Earlier this year, NASA selected Lockheed Martin to design, build and flight test the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator. The X-59 will conduct its first flight in 2021. It will be used to collect community response data on the acceptability of the quiet sonic boom generated by the aircraft, helping NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land.

X-59 is designed to cruise at 55,000 feet/16,764 meters at a speed of about 940 mph/1,513 km/h and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.

A machinist prepares the milling equipment for the first manufactured part of the aircraft structure for the X-59 QueSST at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, California (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
A machinist prepares the milling equipment for the first manufactured part of the aircraft structure for the X-59 QueSST at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, California (Photo: Lockheed Martin)