Category Archives: Air Force

Ready for Training

The U.S. Air Force will announce a winner in its T-X Advanced Pilot Training System competition this summer, and Boeing’s T-X team is ready.

Boeing T-X is the right choice for the U.S. Air Force Training Mission. Meet the people who helped make it possible
Boeing T-X is the right choice for the U.S. Air Force Training Mission. Meet the people who helped make it possible

«This is an exciting time», said Ted Torgerson, T-X senior director. «Only our (Boeing) T-X is built specifically for the U.S. Air Force. Our new, flexible design meets all requirements and can evolve as technologies, missions and training needs change».

Boeing designed, built and flew the first T-X in only 36 months. «We built a special culture here with T-X. Our team dedicated a lot of time and talent to it, and we have already accomplished incredible things. I’m proud to be a member of this team», added Torgerson.

Boeing’s T-X team shares a common view of the program and each other.

«Collectively we’ve worked hard and have been dedicated to developing new techniques and shaping new ideas for the common goal of delivering a new T-X aircraft and ground-based training system that will help train the next generation of pilots», said Jim Robinson, T-X ground-based training systems lead engineer.

A Boeing T-X win will support 17,000 U.S. jobs in 34 states.

First Flight

The first L-159T2 for the Czech Air Force made its first flight on August 2, 2018, at Aero Vodochody Airport. Czech Air Force ordered three L-159T2 twin seat aircraft with several upgrades on board in 2016 to fulfil operational missions and advanced jet training. The L-159T2s are supposed to be delivered to the 21. Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav till the end of this year.

The L-159T2 for the Czech Air Force made its first flight
The L-159T2 for the Czech Air Force made its first flight

The successful first flight of L-159T2 with tail number 6028, piloted by Aero’s test pilots Vladimír Kvarda and David Jahoda, lasted 30 minutes. «Aero achieved another important milestone. Thanks to this cooperation with our national customer, the L-159 program got additional features. Based on requirements of the Czech Air Force, we will deliver additional twin seaters that are suitable for not only advanced pilot training but are also equipped for military operations», said President & CEO of Aero Vodochody Giuseppe Giordo.

These new T2 twin seat aircraft have newly built central and forward fuselage, several significant improvements, mostly in equipment of both cockpits and in the fuel system, and are fully NVG compatible. Each cockpit is further equipped with two Multi-Function Displays and upgraded version of an ejection seat VS-20. The aircraft is also adapted to offer a pressure refueling capability. The Grifo radar, commonly used in single seat version, is now integrated also into the dual seat L-159T2 as well as the self-protection systems (countermeasures and radar warning receiver).

The L-159 aircraft is operated by Czech Air Force, Iraqi Air Force and US company Draken International. In the past, L-159s were leased by Hungarian Air Force to train pilots.

At Farnborough Air Show 2018, Aero Vodochody and its strategic partner, Israeli IAI, introduced a multirole aircraft for close air support F/A-259 Striker. The F/A-259 Striker combines the robustness and effectiveness of its successful predecessor – the L-159 Alca – with the latest advances in avionics and aircraft systems technology. Using benefits of a wet wing, F/A-259 Striker provides superior performance, great maneuverability, and a high range.

 

L-159

L-159 aircraft mates Aero’s long-term experience in development and production of military jet aircraft, in the category of which Aero represents historically the largest producer in the world, with latest advances in avionics, engine and aircraft systems technology. The L-159 is a light multi-role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions. The aircraft is equipped with a state-of-the-art multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations and can carry a wide range of NATO standards stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs. The two-seat L-159 is a derivate of the single-seat L-159, primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training. The L-159 configuration can also be tailored to customer specific requirements and adapted to needs of basic training as well as combat missions including air-to-ground, patrol and reconnaissance missions.

Jamaica Defence

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced on August 14, 2018 the delivery of two Bell 429s to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). A third Bell 429 is scheduled for delivery to the JDF next year. The three aircraft will be used to complete a range of missions including, search and rescue, medical evacuations, natural disaster relief, national security and military training.

Bell Announces Delivery of Bell 429S to Jamaica Defence Force
Bell Announces Delivery of Bell 429S to Jamaica Defence Force

The JDF began its helicopter operations in 1963 with two Bell 47Gs. Its active fleet includes four Bell 407s, two Bell 412s and two Bell 206s.

«Over the years, our mission has evolved resulting in the need to acquire the Bell 429 to more effectively meet the demands of our mission profiles and further prove our rotary wing capability», said Colonel Roderick Williams, the JDF’s Colonel Adjutant Quartermaster and a former Commanding Officer of the JDF Air Wing. «The Bell 429 offers excellent performance and advanced avionics with outstanding maintainability and aircraft readiness for multi-mission operations».

Designed with the future in mind, the Bell 429 meets or exceeds today’s airworthiness requirements to enhance occupant safety, with the adaptability to remain at the forefront as mission requirements evolve. Advanced capabilities of the 429 include Single-Pilot Instrument Flight Rules (SPIFR), Category A operations and an integrated avionics glass cockpit. The use of metallic and composite parts in its construction creates balance between rigidity and flexibility, safety and durability.

Hornet upgrade

Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully installed a production APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

At the request of the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman successfully performed a fit check of a production APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on a F/A-18C Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in California
At the request of the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman successfully performed a fit check of a production APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on a F/A-18C Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in California

The fit check, performed August 2 at the request of the Marine Corps, demonstrated APG-83 SABR is a low-risk option for installation on F/A-18C/D Hornets and that the radar can be integrated with the aircraft’s power, cooling and avionics systems.

«The Marine Corps asked for an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) solution due to the radar’s increase in reliability and sustainability with no decrease in operational performance», said Greg Simer, vice president, integrated avionics systems, Northrop Grumman. «The Marine Corps’ stated objective is to modify an in-production, fielded AESA while meeting the current size, weight, power and cooling requirements of the F/A-18 C/D. We have proven our production APG-83 SABR radar fits into the F/A-18 C/D, achieving the objectives and bringing the technical maturity needed to attain the Marine Corps fleet insertion timelines».

The APG-83 is a multifunction AESA fire control radar that delivers fifth-generation fighter capabilities to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats.

Northrop Grumman is competing to replace the mechanically-scanned radar on F/A-18C/Ds with an AESA radar. The Marine Corps plans to upgrade the radar on approximately 100 F/A-18C/Ds. The APG-83 SABR will address survivability, reliability and maintainability concerns for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Multi-mission version

The best-selling jetliner is considered for a wide range of ISR and transport operations

Having made its mark in the commercial airline sector, the A320neo is now being considered by Airbus for new applications: as a highly-capable and cost-effective platform for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) duties and as a military transport.

Airbus evaluates an A320neo multi-mission version
Airbus evaluates an A320neo multi-mission version

The variant – designated A320M3A – would be designed to fulfill a range of ISR roles, particularly maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare. It also can be outfitted with modular roll-on/roll-off payloads for airlift missions ranging from carrying passengers, troops and VIPs to medical evacuation (medevac) and transporting cargo.

Airbus’ consideration of the A320M3A is in response to market demand, spurred by the growing use of more capable ISR systems – which require physically larger host platforms with increased electrical power and more efficient cooling systems than previously were the case for C4ISR aircraft.

 

A proven, low-risk solution

One of the biggest applications of the A320M3A is for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare, with countries in Europe and elsewhere seeking replacements for ageing aircraft – many of which will be encouraged to develop fleet commonality driven by the intensive growth of joint operations with member nations of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

Advantages in offering the New Engine Option (NEO) version of Airbus’ A320 commercial jetliner include an extensive capability for growth in a fuselage cross-section that is wider than its competitor in the same size category, the long range and endurance, as well as the lowest operational and life-cycle costs in its class. Other pluses for the A320M3A are the aircraft’s high reliability (proven in airline service), and the resources of an established worldwide supply chain and training network.

The A320M3A also benefits from being a low-risk solution: being based on Airbus’ highly-mature A320 airliner family in high-rate production; and building on the company’s proven capabilities in producing military derivatives of its commercial aircraft – such as the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which is in use by military services around the globe.

BACN-Equipped EQ-4B

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered a Global Hawk autonomous aircraft carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) to the U.S. Air Force fleet. BACN – also developed by Northrop Grumman – is a high-altitude, airborne gateway that translates and distributes voice communications, and other battlespace information from numerous sources.

The Northrop Grumman EQ-4B Global Hawk autonomous aircraft on its first flight after being converted to carry the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) on February 16, 2018. The successful first flight over Southern California led to the delivery of the aircraft to the U.S. Air Force
The Northrop Grumman EQ-4B Global Hawk autonomous aircraft on its first flight after being converted to carry the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) on February 16, 2018. The successful first flight over Southern California led to the delivery of the aircraft to the U.S. Air Force

BACN bridges the gaps between those systems and extends communications among disparate users and networks to provide improved situational awareness.

BACN has completed more than 10,000 combat missions connecting warfighters in the air and on the ground.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

 

Specifications

Wingspan 130.9 feet/39.9 m
Length 47.6 feet/14.5 m
Height 15.4 feet/4.7 m
Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) 32,250 lbs./14,628 kg
Power Plant Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine
Thrust 8,290 lbs./36.8 kN/3,752.5 kgf
Maximum Altitude 60,000 feet/18.3 km
Payload 3,000 lbs./1,360 kg
Loiter Velocity 310 knots TAS/357 mph/574 km/h
Ferry Range 12,300 NM/14,155 miles/22,780 km
On-Station Endurance Exceeds 24 hours
Maximum Endurance 30 hours

 

Tempest

Announcing the publication of the new Combat Air Strategy at the Farnborough International Airshow, the Defence Secretary said he had taken action to strengthen the UK’s role as a global leader in the sector and to protect key skills across the UK industrial base.

British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson speaks at the Farnborough airshow in front of a full-scale mockup of Tempest, the Royal Air Force’s future combat aircraft concept, for which he said £2 billion has been earmarked (UK MoD photo)
British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson speaks at the Farnborough airshow in front of a full-scale mockup of Tempest, the Royal Air Force’s future combat aircraft concept, for which he said £2 billion has been earmarked (UK MoD photo)

He outlined the Strategy in front of the combat aircraft concept model which has been developed by UK industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence – being publicly unveiled for the first time, it acts as a powerful demonstration of the UK’s world leading technical capability and industrial expertise.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

  • «We have been a world leader in the combat air sector for a century, with an enviable array of skills and technology, and this Strategy makes clear that we are determined to make sure it stays that way. It shows our allies that we are open to working together to protect the skies in an increasingly threatening future – and this concept model is just a glimpse into what the future could look like.
  • British defence industry is a huge contributor to UK prosperity, creating thousands of jobs in a thriving advanced manufacturing sector, and generating a UK sovereign capability that is the best in the world.
  • Today’s news leaves industry, our military, the country, and our allies in no doubt that the UK will be flying high in the combat air sector as we move into the next generation».

For the last 100 years the UK combat air industrial sector has ensured the UK has been at the forefront of technological and engineering developments, delivering world leading capability to the RAF and our allies. This Strategy will ensure the UK continues to maintain this leading position.

The Strategy outlines the way in which the UK will acquire future Combat Air capabilities to maximise the overall value the UK derives from the sector. The framework will balance military capability, international influence, and economic and prosperity benefit along with the overall cost.

It reinforces the commitment in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review to deliver the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI). The Government, in partnership with industry, is taking steps to grow existing world-leading design engineering capacity and skills, ensuring that the UK continues to be at the cutting edge of combat air technology.

The concept aircraft has been put together by British firms including BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce, which have joined together with the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office to form ‘Team Tempest’ to pursue the opportunity.

Team Tempest brings together the UK’s world leading industry and sovereign capabilities across future combat air’s four key technology areas: advanced combat air systems and integration (BAE Systems); advanced power and propulsion systems (Rolls-Royce); advanced sensors, electronics and avionics (Leonardo) and advanced weapon systems (MBDA).

The MOD will now set up a dedicated team to deliver the combat air acquisition programme. They will deliver a business case by the end of the year and have initial conclusions on international partners by next summer – with engagement with potential partners beginning immediately.

Early decisions around how to acquire the capability will be confirmed by the end of 2020, before final investment decisions are made by 2025. The aim is then for a next generation platform to have operational capability by 2035.

The UK is already a world-leader in the combat air sector, with a mix of skills and technologies unique in Europe, supporting over 18,000 highly skilled jobs. The sector delivers a turnover in excess of £6bn a year and has made up over 80% of defence exports from the UK over the last ten years.

Investment in combat air technology, combined with the strengths of UK industry, has resulted in the UK being the only Tier 1 partner with the US on the F-35 Lightning II programme, with British industry delivering 15% by value of every F-35 built. The UK has been able to help define the operational capabilities of the aircraft, while reinforcing UK industrial capability, critical skills and supporting wider economic prosperity.

The UK also continues to lead the way in combat air power as one of the four partner nations in the Eurofighter Typhoon programme. With more than 20,000 flying hours on deployed operations to date, the Typhoon delivers world leading capability, unparalleled reliability and proven interoperability with our allies. The MOD will continue to invest in the Typhoon for decades to come, with the best technologies being carried forward on to next-generation systems.

The F-35 Lightning II and the Typhoon are two complementary multi-role combat aircraft that will make up the RAF’s combat air fleet, placing the UK at the forefront of combat air technology – with the Typhoon expected to remain in UK service until at least 2040.

The concept aircraft has been put together by British firms including BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce
The concept aircraft has been put together by British firms including BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce

Flight testing

The KC-46 Pegasus program achieved an important milestone July 6, 2018, at Boeing Field, Seattle, with completion of the final flight tests required for first aircraft delivery planned in late October.

A KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off from Boeing Field, Seattle, June 4, 2018. The KC-46 Pegasus program achieved an important milestone July 6, with completion of the final flight tests required for first aircraft delivery to the U.S. Air Force (Courtesy photo)
A KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off from Boeing Field, Seattle, June 4, 2018. The KC-46 Pegasus program achieved an important milestone July 6, with completion of the final flight tests required for first aircraft delivery to the U.S. Air Force (Courtesy photo)

The integrated Air Force and Boeing test team completed all required test points for the Remote Vision System and for receiver certifications of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-17 Globemaster III. These two receivers, coupled with testing completed in June of KC-135 Stratotanker refueling the KC-46 Pegasus as a receiver, are the minimum required for delivery.

«With this milestone complete, the test program has demonstrated a level of maturity that positions Boeing to deliver, and the Air Force to accept, an aircraft by the end of October 2018», said Doctor Will Roper, the Air Force service acquisition executive.

The KC-46 Pegasus test program is now transitioning to follow-on receiver aircraft testing and certifications required for operational testing starting in 2019.

On June 4, 2018, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David L. Goldfein met with the men and women testing the KC-46 Pegasus at Boeing Field to witness their hard work firsthand. While flying on a scheduled KC-46 Pegasus test mission, Goldfein flew the aircraft and its boom in between test points and observed C-17 Globemaster III receiver aircraft certification testing.

«It was a pleasure to fly the KC-46 Pegasus, an aircraft that will enhance our lethality and global warfighting capabilities», Goldfein said. After the recent test point completion, he added, «I am encouraged by the team’s progress in putting another significant milestone behind us. The collective Air Force, Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration, and Defense Contract Management Agency team is laser-focused on the remainder of activities needed to certify and accept this much-needed tanker in late October. I am excited for our Air Force as we move closer to having this aircraft in the hands of our warfighters who will unleash its demonstrated capabilities in support of the Joint fight».

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs./275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs./188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs./140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs./96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs./94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs./29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Patrol aircraft

Leonardo has signed a contract to supply an ATR 72MP aircraft to the Italian Customs Police and provide associated logistics support and training services. The contract, valued about 44-million euros, was awarded following a European tender and includes options which would bring the total value up to 250 million euros. The first delivery will take place in 2019.

Italy’s customs police ordered its first ATR-72MP maritime patrol aircraft, similar to this one operated by the Italian Air Force, with more on option. Delivery is planned for 2019 (Leonardo photo)
Italy’s customs police ordered its first ATR-72MP maritime patrol aircraft, similar to this one operated by the Italian Air Force, with more on option. Delivery is planned for 2019 (Leonardo photo)

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo’s CEO, said: «We are proud that the Italian Customs Police, which already operates our aircraft and helicopters, continues to place their trust in our capabilities. The ATR 72MP, based on the modern ATR 72-600 regional turboprop aircraft, is a tangible example of Leonardo’s leadership position in both platforms and their systems. This is an aircraft that can carry out numerous roles including maritime patrol, searching for and identifying surface vessels, Search & Rescue (SAR) missions, the prevention of narcotic-trafficking, piracy and smuggling, territorial water security and the monitoring-of and intervention-in ecological disasters. It comes equipped with our latest-generation communications and data sharing systems, meaning the aircraft can transmit and receive real-time information to and from ground-based command and control centres and airborne/maritime platforms, improving coordination and maximising operational effectiveness».

The ATR 72MP will be part of the Italian Customs Police’s range of airborne and naval capabilities which can be called on to respond to the wide range of missions carried out by the organisation. Because of its airborne capabilities, the Customs Police is the only law enforcement agency in Italy able to provide full surveillance coverage along the entirety of the country’s coastal border and in international waters.

Equipment on-board the ATR 72MP for the first time will support the Italian Customs Police in carrying out specific surveillance activities that come under their responsibility. The ATR 72MP will perform maritime patrol and search using on-board sensors to detect and identify sensitive targets, maintaining a position of low observability when necessary, monitoring target’s behaviour, recording proof for prosecutions and directing naval and land-based assets.

The ATR 72MP, already in service with the Italian Air Force which refers to it as the P-72A, is equipped with Leonardo’s ‘ATOS’ (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) modular mission system. The ATOS manages the aircraft’s wide spectrum of sensors, fusing the information gathered in complex situations and presenting a single tactical picture to operators, providing excellent situational awareness.

Thanks to the system’s advanced man-machine interface, only two system operators are needed to fully exploit the ATOS in the aircraft’s standard configuration. Thanks to its commercial design, the ATR 72MP also features crew ergonomics that help maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of operators during lengthy missions such as maritime patrol, search and identification, search and rescue, counter-smuggling, anti-piracy and territorial water protection, all of which typically last in excess of 8 hours.

Hungarian helicopters

Donauwörth, The Hungarian Ministry of Defence has ordered 20 H145M military helicopters equipped with the innovative HForce weapon management in the frame of the military modernisation programme Zrinyi 2026. Together with the helicopters, Airbus will provide an extensive training and support package.

H145M with HForce weapon system
H145M with HForce weapon system

«We are honoured to be of service – once more – to the Hungarian Ministry of Defence whom we today welcome as a new customer for our H145M helicopters. With this new order, we are fostering our excellent and trustful relationship with the Hungarian Armed Forces after their acquisition of two A319 military troop transporters last year. Team Airbus is grateful for the continued trust and confidence that the Hungarian government has placed in our products», said Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus.

With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The Hungarian fleet 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 Hungary 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 Thailand and the Republic of Serbia. 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). In addition, the helicopter is equipped with the Helionix digital avionics suite which 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