Category Archives: Air Force

Crouching Tiger

Airbus Helicopters has completed official delivery of the first two Tiger helicopters in the new HAD-E version (Helicoptero de Apoyo y Destrucción, Support and Destruction Helicopter) for the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET), said Gloria Illas, Airbus Helicopters España.

Tiger HAD-E version (Helicoptero de Apoyo y Destrucción, Support and Destruction Helicopter)
Tiger HAD-E version (Helicoptero de Apoyo y Destrucción, Support and Destruction Helicopter)

As for the combat helicopters, Tiger deliveries belong to the new HAD-E version, which offers numerous advantages compared to the HAP-E Tigers (Hélicoptère d’Appui Protection, Support and Escort Helicopter) currently in service: a new MTR390-E (Enhanced) turboshaft with 14% more power, an improved optronic vision system, Spike air-to-ground missiles, an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system coupled with an interrogator and a new electronic warfare and countermeasure system.

The Spanish Army purchased a total of 24 of these helicopters. To date, six HAP-E version Tiger helicopters have been delivered to the Attack Helicopter Battalion. Their satisfactory deployment in Afghanistan during 2013 represents an important milestone for this helicopter.

Tiger HAD-E
Tiger HAD-E

 

CHARACTERISTICS

 

Main Assets

Length (rotor rotating):                                                          15.82 m (51.90 ft)

Fuselage length:                                                                          13.85 m (45.43 ft)

Rotor diameter:                                                                           13.00 m (42.85 ft)

Height:                                                                                               3.84 m (12.60 ft)

Width:                                                                                                4.53 m (14.85 ft)

Disc area:                                                                                         133 m² (1,430 ft²)

 

Typical characteristics

Maxi Take-Off Weight (MTOW) – ISA (International Standard Atmosphere), SL (Sea Level):                                           6,600 kg/14,553 lb

Engine 2 × MTR 390 – Step 1-5:                                    1,092 kW/1,464 shp

Super contingency power (One Engine Inoperative):           1,322 kW/ 1,774 shp

Standard fuel capacity:                                                        1,105 kg/2,435 lb

Standard fuel capacity + external fuel tanks:         1,689 kg/3,723 lb

 

Performances

Fast cruise speed at MTOW, SL:                                     271 km/h/146 kts

Mission duration (standard):                                             2 h 30 min

Maximum endurance with external fuel tank:        5 h 00 min

Max range «armed» with standard fuel tanks:        400 NM/740 km

Max range «not armed» with external fuel tanks: 610 NM/1,130 km

 

Flight envelope

Operating temperature:         – 30°C to ISA + 35°C

Service ceiling:                              -500 m to 4000 m/-1,640 ft to 13,123 ft

Tiger HAD-E with 70 mm unguided rockets (up to 52 rockets)
Tiger HAD-E with 70 mm unguided rockets (up to 52 rockets)

 

Typical configurations

Attack

4 Air-to-Air Mistral

+ 8 Hellfire or Spike

+ 30 mm turreted gun

 

Ground

68 rockets 68 mm

or

52 rockets 70 mm

+ 30 mm turreted gun

 

Attack

2 Air-to-Air Mistral

+ 4 Hellfire or Spike

+ 34 rockets 68mm

or

26 rockets 70 mm

+ 30 mm turreted gun

 

Armed Reconnaissance

4 Air-to-Air Mistral

+ 44 rockets 68 mm

or

38 rockets 70 mm

+ 30 mm turreted gun

 

Air-to-Air combat

4 Air-to-Air Mistral

+ 30 mm turreted gun

 

Armament

30 mm turret-mounted gun (Nexter 30M781)

Total Ammunition capacity:

450 rounds;

Rate of fire: 750 rounds per minute;

Bursts: 5/10/25 bullets;

Azimuth: +/-90°;

Elevation: +28°/-25°

Optimized firing domain:

ATG (Air-To-Ground): up to 1,500 m;

ATA (Air-To-Air): up to 1,000 m

30 mm turret-mounted gun (Nexter 30M781)
30 mm turret-mounted gun (Nexter 30M781)

 

Rockets

Versatile 68 mm or 70 mm unguided rocket system (change of rocket type without change of any fixed part on helicopter)

68 mm (up to 68 rockets):

2 inner launchers of 22 rockets;

2 outer launchers of 12 rockets

70 mm (up to 52 rockets):

2 inner launchers of 19 rockets;

2 outer launchers of 7 rockets

Firing Control for:

rocket inner pods elevation;

sub-ammunition ejection delays;

rocket types

Growth potential for laser guided rockets

 

Missiles

Air-to-Air Mistral Missile:

Off boresight capability;

Multicell seeker;

2 × 2 missiles (outer launchers);

Range = up to 6000 m

Air-to-Ground missiles

Hellfire (laser guided):

2 M299 launchers × 4 missiles;

Range = 8000 m;

Self-designation or Collaborative designation;

Locked Before Launch (LOBL) or Locked After Launch (LOAL)

Spike ER:

2 × 4 missiles;

Range = 8000 m;

(Fire-and-follow) with electro-optical or fiber optics technologies

Tiger HAD-E (Spanish Army Airmobile Force)
Tiger HAD-E (Spanish Army Airmobile Force)

Workhorse for Spain

According to Mr. Julien Negrel, NHIndustries Business Director, NHI delivered to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) the first NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter built in Spain. This delivery took place on Friday 19th December 2014 in Albacette, in the Airbus Helicopters Spain facility.

The Spanish version of the NH90 TTH
The Spanish version of the NH90 TTH

«This delivery is the proof that the NH90 is not only the best helicopter in its class to modernize the Spanish armed forces, but it is as well a true industrial partnership creating skilled jobs in Spain», declared Xavier Poupardin Delegated Managing Director of NHI. «The Spanish NH90 program is the result of an excellent cooperation between Industry and the Spanish Ministry of Defense, the Spanish Ministry of Industry with the support of the Directorate General of Armament and Equipment (DGAM)», added Xavier Poupardin.

The Spanish version of the NH90 TTH, the GSPA, will be the workhorse of the Spanish armed forces for the next decades, replacing several types of previous generation helicopters. Its main missions will be Tactical Troop Transport, Search and Rescue, Personnel Recovery and Medical Evacuation. NHI and Airbus Helicopters España will supply a total of 22 NH90 helicopters to the Spanish Armed Forces under a delivery schedule that continues through to 2019.

The NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its large full composite airframe, its excellent power to weight ratio, and its wide range of role equipment. It features a redundant Fly-by-Wire flight control system for reduced Pilot’s workload and enhanced flight characteristics.

The NH90 is proposed in two main variants, one dedicated to naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the NH90 TTH (Tactical Troop Transport) for land based operations. As of today, 230 helicopters have been delivered in Naval and Tactical transport variants since the beginning of the program and 51 since the beginning of 2014. They are in service in Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greece, Oman, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

NH90 TTH (Tactical Troop Transport)
NH90 TTH (Tactical Troop Transport)

 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

 

External Dimensions

Overall dimensions (rotors turning)

Length:                                                                                19.56 m (64.18 ft)

Width:                                                                                  16.30 m (53.48 ft)

Height:                                                                                  5.31 m (17.42 ft)

 

Weights

Maximum Gross Weight:                                           10,600 kg (23,369 lb)

Alternate Gross Weight:                                            11,000 kg (24,250 lb)

Empty Weight:                                                                  6,400 kg (14,109 lb)

Useful Load:                                                                        4,200 kg (9,260 lb)

 

Cargo Capacity

Cargo Hook:                                                                        4,000 kg (8,818 lb)

Single or dual Rescue Hoist:                                      270 kg (595 lb)

Rescue Hoist on ground:                                             400 kg (880 lb)

Crew (2 + 1); 20 troops in full crashworthy or up to 12 strechers

 

Fuel Capacity

7-Cell Internal System:                                                2,035 kg (4,486 lb)

Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each):                   400 kg (882 lb)

External Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each)                   292 kg (644 lb)

or                                                                                               500 kg (1,102 lb)

NH90 Helicopter
NH90 Helicopter

 

Internal Dimensions

Width:                                                                                    2.00 m (6.56 ft)

Length:                                                                                   4.80 m (15.75 ft)

Height:                                                                                   1.58 m (5.18 ft)

Volume:                                                                                 15.20 m³ (536.78 ft³)

Sliding doors opening:                                    1.60 × 1.50 m (5.25 × 4.92 ft)

Rear ramp opening:                                          1.78 × 1.58 m (5.84 × 5.18 ft)

 

NH90 General Performance (Basic Aircraft, at 10,000 kg)

Maximum Cruise Speed:                                               300 km/h (162 kts)

Economical Cruise Speed:                                            260 km/h (140 kts)

Maximum Rate of Climb:                                              11.2 m/s (2,200 ft/min)

OEI (One Engine Inoperative) Rate of Climb 2 min Rating:        4.3 m/s (850 ft/min)

OEI Rate of Climb Continuous Rating at 2000 m (6560 ft):       1.5 m/s (300 ft/min)

Hover Ceiling IGE (In Ground Effect):                   3,200 m (10,500 ft)

Hover Ceiling OGE (Out of Ground Effect):      2,600 m (8,530 ft)

Maximum Range:                                                               982 km (530 NM)

Maximum Range with 2,500 kg payload:             900 km (486 NM)

Maximum Endurance:                                                     5 h

Ferry Range (with Internal Aux Fuel Tanks):     1,600 km (864 NM)

GSPA Helicopter
GSPA Helicopter

 

Power System – Twin engine with dual channel FADEC

(Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)

Two Turbomecca (RTM 322-01/9 or RTM 322-01/9A enhanced version)

or

Two General Electric (GE T700/T6E1 or CT7-8F5 enhanced version)

 

NH90 Engines Power Ratings

(Uninstalled power data-ISA/Sea Level)

 

RATING                                                                                     RTM 322-01/9

OEI 30 sec (100%):                                                              2,172 kW (2,913 shp)

OEI 2 min:                                                                                 1,855 kW (2,488 shp)

OEI Continuous:                                                                   1,781 kW (2,388 shp)

AEO TOP (All Engines Operating)(30 min) (x2):1,781 kW (2,388 shp)

AEO Continuous (x2):                                                        1,664 kW (2,231 shp)

 

RATING                                                                                     GE T700/T6E1 (*)

OEI 30 sec (100%):                                                              2,095 kW (2,809 shp)

OEI 2 min:                                                                                 1,842 kW (2,470 shp)

OEI 60 min:                                                                              1,692 kW (2,269 shp)

AEO TOP (30 min) (x2):                                                    1,692 kW (2,269 shp)

AEO Continuous (x2):                                                        1,577 kW (2,115 shp)

(*) GE engines with Integrated Particle Separator (IPS)

 

Role Equipment

Door mounted pintle machine gun (7.62 mm or 12.7 mm)

Armour protection for cabin (modular)

Self-protection suite

 

Striking Distance

The U.S. Air Force has approved full rate production for Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER).

JASSM-ER is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B
First B-1B live JASSM drop. China Lake Range

JASSM-ER successfully completed U.S. Air Force Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) flight-testing in 2013. During IOT&E, the program had a 95 percent success rate, scoring 20 successes in 21 flights. Lots 11 and 12 of the JASSM contract awarded in December 2013 included 100 ER missiles.

«The full rate production decision demonstrates that our customer, at all levels of the U.S. Air Force, has confidence in JASSM-ER», said Jason Denney, long-range strike systems program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «JASSM-ER provides warfighters with a first day, first strike capability in an anti-access, area-denial environment».

Armed with a dual-mode penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, JASSM and JASSM-ER cruise autonomously day or night in all weather conditions. Both missiles share the same powerful capabilities and stealthy characteristics, though JASSM-ER has more than two-and-a-half times the range of the baseline JASSM for greater standoff margin. These 2,000-pound cruise missiles employ an infrared seeker and Global Positioning System receiver to dial into specific target aimpoints. The infrared seeker allows the weapon to find its target even in areas where GPS signals are jammed.

JASSM is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2
JASSM is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2

«The baseline JASSM has a range in excess of 200 n miles (370 km), is powered by a Teledyne turbojet engine, and carries a WDU-42B (J-1000) 1,000-lb-class blast fragmentation/penetrating warhead. The JASSM-ER is powered by the Williams International F107-WR-105 turbofan engine, but is otherwise identical. It has a range of about 500 n miles (926 km)», Lockheed Martin’s representative Melissa Hilliard told IHS Jane’s.

JASSM and JASSM-ER are critical weapons for the U.S. Air Force. Extremely effective against high-value, well-fortified, fixed and relocatable targets, the stealthy JASSM-ER is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B, but there are efforts under way for F-15E, F-16, and B-52 integration. JASSM is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2, B-52, F-16, F-15E, and internationally, on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18A/B.

Produced at the company’s award-winning manufacturing facility in Troy, Alabama, more than 1,500 JASSM cruise missiles have been assembled for testing and operational use toward a total U.S. Air Force objective of 4,900.

 

Specifications

Weight:                                  2250 lbs./1020.58 kg

Warhead:                             1000 lbs./453.59 kg (WDU-42/B)

Engine Type:                       Williams International F107-WR-105

Length:                                   168 in/4.267 m

Storage:                                 15 years

Range:                                    >500 NMI/>926 km

 

Air trap

U.S. Air Force finds new effective ways to overcome the modern air defense system. According to Ashley Mehl, Raytheon, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force successfully collaborated with Raytheon Company for the first flight demonstration of a Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer (MALD-J) equipped with a radio data link. Adding the data link expands the weapon’s situational awareness and allows for in-flight targeting adjustments.

MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way
MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way

Raytheon flew a captive carry mission from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma (Arizona) to support a Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor exercise. The exercise used the USMC’s recently released Electronic Warfare Services Architecture protocol and a Tactical Targeting Network Technology radio.

«This flight test shows MALD-J’s ability to integrate new technology that will provide the warfighter more capabilities on the battlefield», said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. «The Marines are operationalizing the Marine Air Ground Task Force Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Coordination Cell and Raytheon is part of this forward-thinking solution to a complex problem».

MALD-J carried out its assigned radar-jamming mission on the range and was able to send situation awareness data to the Electronic Warfare Battle Manager (EWBM). The EWBM used this information to adjust the MALD’s mission while in flight.

MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems
MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems

 

MALD

The MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way. MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems (IADS).

The U.S. and its allies can confuse and deceive enemy IADS by sending a formation of MALDs into hostile airspace. MALD weighs less than 300 pounds (136 kg) and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles, 926 km). After it is launched from its host aircraft, MALD flies a preprogrammed mission.

In addition to protecting valuable aircraft, MALD offers counter air operations to neutralize air defense systems that pose a threat to U.S. and allied pilots.

MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft
MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft

 

MALD-J

MALD-J is the jammer variant of the basic decoy, and the first ever stand-in jammer to enter production. The unmanned MALD-J navigates and operates much closer than conventional Electronic Warfare to the victim radar when jamming the electronics, allowing aviators and aircraft to stay out of harm’s way. Moreover, it is able to loiter in the target area for an extended period – plenty of time to complete the mission.

MALD-J can operate alone or in pairs, but is designed to work with and leverage other electronic warfare platforms. Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

The terror
that flaps in the night

According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, Poland is adding a standoff cruise missile capability to its air force, signing an agreement to buy the Lockheed Martin AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) on 11 December 2014.

AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile

In addition to the purchase of the missiles, the programme will also include the upgrade of 46 Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft to carry the missiles. Tomasz Siemoniak, Polish minister of national defence and deputy prime minister, stated during the signing ceremony at the 31 Tactical Air Base at Krzesiny (part of the Nowe Miasto district of Poznań, Poland) that «never in Poland’s history have we had such a modern weapon».

Poland is purchasing the new capability as part of an effort to increase its airborne, naval, and land-based long-range strike assets. This is combined with new defensive missile programmes and is intended to deter hostile actions against Poland. These efforts have been given new impetus by the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about Russia’s intentions.

Following the government-to-government letter of offer and acceptance on 11 December 2014, a contract is expected to be awarded to contractor Lockheed Martin in the first quarter of 2015, a company statement said.

The 31st Tactical Air Base
The 31st Tactical Air Base

The agreement to buy the JASSM follows US Congress approval on 2 October 2014 of the sale of up to 40 of the stealthy cruise missiles and the F-16 upgrade package. According to the Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD), the upgrade process for its F-16s will include the installation of retrofit kits and new software for the aircraft to Mid-Life Update tape M6.5 standard.

According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, IHS reporter, beginning in 2015 two Polish F-16s will have the new software integrated and will conduct flight-trials in the United States. The remaining 44 aircraft will receive the software upgrade and retrofit kits at Polish air bases from the second half of 2016 onwards, when the country also expects to receive its first batch of missiles.

When the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency notified the possible sale of the JASSM to Poland on 17 September, it estimated the maximum cost of the programme at $500 million: a figure that Polish sources previously described as «unacceptably high».

However, Polish deputy defence minister Czeslaw Mroczek, responsible for negotiating the purchase, stated that the price of the contract «was negotiated for a long time, but we received a very good price and the contract includes not only the acquisition of JASSM missiles, but also the development of customized software and training».

AGM-158 JASSM
AGM-158 JASSM

 

Overview

JASSM is a long-range, semi-autonomously guided, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. Air Force. Designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets, JASSM’s significant standoff range keeps aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defense systems.

A 2,000-pound class weapon with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM employs semi-autonomous guidance in adverse weather, day or night, using a state-of-the-art infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to find a specific aimpoint on the target. Its stealthy airframe makes it extremely difficult to defeat.

JASSM is integrated on multiple aircraft including the B-1, B-2, B-52, F-16, and F-15E. Internationally, JASSM is certified on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18. Future integration efforts will focus on the U.S. and international versions of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft and other international platforms. With superior performance and affordable price, JASSM offers the best value of any weapon in its class.

The warhead is a WDU-42/B (1000 lbs./453.59 kg) penetrator
The warhead is a WDU-42/B (1000 lbs./453.59 kg) penetrator

 

Features

  • Simple mission planning
  • Adverse weather operable
  • Global Positioning System/Inertial Measurement Unit guidance
  • GPS jam resistant
  • Autonomous terminal guidance
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • High lethality
  • Highly survivable
  • Supportable
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Full loadout on F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D, F-15E, B-1, B-2, and B-52 aircraft
  • Full aircraft carrier compatibility

 

Specifications

JASSM’s design incorporates proven technologies and subsystems into a stealthy air vehicle to meet today’s and tomorrow’s threats

Weight:                                   2250 lbs./1020.58 kg

Warhead:                              1000 lbs./453.59 kg (WDU-42/B)

Length:                                   168 in/4.267 m

Storage:                                 15 years

Range:                                    >200 NMI/>370.4 km

 

 

F-16 Fighting Falcon (Multirole fighter)  (http://usairforc.blogspot.ru/2014/11/f-16-fighting-falcon.html)

 

Rise of the Osprey

Bell Helicopter announced the successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. The exercise took place in November 2014 at the United States Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona.

The successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
The successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

«The forward-firing demonstration was a great success», said Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22. «We’ve shown the V-22 Osprey can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions, and can hit their targets with a high degree of reliability. Congratulations to the team who has worked hard from initial design to completion of this demonstration».

According to representatives of Bell Helicopter, V-22 Osprey is now one of the safest aircraft operated by the Marine Corps. Since its deployment in 2007, the V-22 has achieved outstanding mission success in deployments to Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The Osprey offers operators (U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command) a wide range of mission capability including raids, Casualty Evacuation, Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief, resupply, VIP transport, and theater security cooperation.

«Integrating a forward firing capability to the V-22 Osprey will increase its mission set», Tobin continued. «These weapons, once installed, will provide added firepower and reduce reliance on Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARPs) which are sometimes necessary to supply short range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations. Without the need for FARPs, V-22s can be launched more frequently, and on shorter notice».

Through the end of the third quarter of 2014, Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor for the U.S. Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 Osprey for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Note also that Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013.

Integrating a forward firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set
Integrating a forward firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set

 

Description and Purpose

The V-22 Osprey is a joint service multi-role combat aircraft utilizing tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed wing aircraft. With its engine nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed (277 mph, 443 km/h), high-altitude flight (25,000 ft, 7,620 m). This unique combination allows the V-22 Osprey to fill an operational niche no other aircraft can approach.

The V-22 Osprey can carry 24 combat troops (Marines or Special Forces soldiers), or up to 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of external cargo, at twice the speed of a helicopter. It features a cross-coupled drive system so either engine can power the rotors if one engine fails!

For shipboard compatibility, the rotors fold and the wing rotates to minimize the aircraft’s footprint for storage. The V-22 Osprey is the only vertical lift platform capable of rapid self-deployment to any theater of operation, worldwide.

 

Customers

The U.S. Marine Corps has a current requirement for 360 MV-22s to perform combat assault and assault support missions. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has a requirement for 50 CV-22s configured for terrain-following, low-level, high-speed flight for long-range special operations.

More than 200 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation across 10 Marine Corps and 2 Air Force Special Operations Command Osprey squadrons. The two services have together logged 16 successful combat, humanitarian, ship-based or Special Operations deployments since 2007. The worldwide Osprey fleet has amassed more than 190,000 flight hours, with more than half of those hours logged in the past two years (Source: Boeing).

Safety, survivability and mission efficiency have become hallmarks of the operational fleet. According to Naval Safety Center records, the MV-22 has one of the lowest Class A mishap (in which someone dies or a plane sustains more than $1 million in damage; usually such mishaps are crashes, and all are investigated) rates of any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps during the past decade. Navy flight-hour cost data also show that the Osprey has the lowest cost per seat-mile (cost to transport one person over a distance of one mile) of any U.S. naval transport rotorcraft in each of the last two years.

Marine Corps MV-22s are currently deployed in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting contingency operations, while AFSOC CV-22s are deployed in support of ongoing Special Operations missions.

The V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions
The V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions

 

Production

Boeing Military Aircraft’s Mobility division is responsible for the fuselage, empennage, and all subsystems, digital avionics, and fly-by-wire flight-control systems. While Boeing partner Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., is responsible for the wing, transmissions, rotor systems, engine installation, and final assembly at its completion facility in Amarillo, Texas.

According to Boeing (as of June 2013), 34 V-22 Ospreys were delivered in 2011 and 39 aircraft were delivered in 2012.

 

Multiyear Contract Details

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey program was awarded a second V-22 Multiyear Procurement (MYPII) contract agreement to provide a total of 99 aircraft for the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command over five years with a substantial savings to the Department of Defense (DOD) and American taxpayers of nearly $1 billion.

The multiyear proposal will bring the fleet near to the full program of record: 360 MV-22s for the Marines and 50 CV-22s for the Air Force.

It should also be mentioned separately that 48 V-22s for the Navy remain part of the program of 459 but are currently unfunded.

 

General Characteristics

Propulsion     Two Rolls-Royce AE1107C; 6,150 shp (4,586 kW) each

Length         Fuselage: 57.3 ft (17.48.20 m); Stowed: 63.0 ft (19.20 m)

Width          Rotors turning: 84.6 ft (25.78 m); Stowed: 18.4 ft (5.61 m)

Height   Nacelles vertical: 22.1 ft (6.73 m); Stabilizer: 17.9 ft (5.46 m)

Rotor Diameter                   38.1 ft (11.6 m)

Vertical Takeoff Max Gross Weight             52,600 lbs (23,859 kg)

Max Cruise Speed              Sea Level (SL): 280 kts (277 mph, 443 km/h)

Ceiling                                       25,000 ft (7,620 m)

Mission Radius                     600 nm (1112 km) – MV-22 Blk B with 24 troops, ramp mounted weapon system, SL STD, 15 min loiter time

Cockpit – crew seats         2 MV/3 CV

Load                                            24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded); up to 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of external cargo

 

MV-22B Osprey (VTOL/STOL transport)(http://usnavalaircraft.blogspot.ru/2014/11/mv-22b-osprey.html)

 

CV-22B Osprey (U.S. Special Operations Command – USSOCOM)(http://usairforc.blogspot.ru/2014/11/cv-22b-osprey.html)

 

Sikorsky flies to India

As I mentioned earlier, India is clearly moving away from the Russian arms market. The Indian government decided to mass-produce the new main battle tank Arjun instead of buying Russian T-90. The Indian Air Force announced the French Air Fighter as the preferred bidder in the competition with the Su-30MKI and contracted for 126 Rafales, services, and parts could be worth as much as $20 billion. In fine, the latest P-8I Neptune (Indian version of Boeing P-8 Poseidon) delivery was part of an eight-aircraft contract worth $2.1 billion awarded in January 2009 to replace India’s ageing Russian Tupolev Tu-142Ms.

MH-60S delivery for Thai Navy
MH-60S delivery for Thai Navy

In light of the above, the last post by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. looks like a logical continuation of this clear trend. Namely, India’s Navy has selected Sikorsky to fulfill the service’s Multi-Role Helicopter requirement for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW/ASuW), among other maritime roles. Negotiations will now begin to procure 16 S-70B Seahawk helicopters, with an option for 8 additional aircraft, along with a complete logistics support and training program (Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.).

«India’s selection of the S-70B helicopter represents a major strategic win for Sikorsky in an important growth market, and positions us well for future opportunities», said Mick Maurer, President of Sikorsky Aircraft. «We look forward to a long-term collaboration with the Indian Government and local industry as we work to bring the Indian Navy the highly advanced multi-role S-70B aircraft».

The proposed Indian Navy S-70B helicopter variant will include avionics and flexible open architecture Weapons Management Systems that integrate an advanced sonar, 360-degree search radar, modern air-to-surface missiles, and torpedoes for the ASW role. A blade and tail fold capability will facilitate shipboard storage.

The new S-70B aircraft will also enhance the Indian Navy’s capabilities to perform non-combat maritime roles, including search and rescue, utility and external cargo lift, surveillance and casualty evacuation.

Sikorsky has fielded increasingly more capable variants of the S-70B helicopter since 1984 for navies that prefer to acquire a modern, fully integrated ASW/ASuW platform direct from the manufacturer. Now operational in 6 countries (in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America), the S-70B platform has a solid reputation for highly reliable shipboard operations and maintenance while operating aboard frigates and larger naval vessels. The S-70B aircraft is part of Sikorsky’s Seahawk helicopter family (including the SH-60 and MH-60 models) that has accumulated almost 4 million flight hours from more than 800 operational aircraft, and is considered one of the safest platforms available.

At the same time, it should be noted that some Navy experts consider this contract as a rather «strange» deal. The fact is that India didn’t procure the latest MH-60R production standard like other navies. Instead, India’s Navy has elected to go for a direct commercial purchase of S-70B helicopters. Thus, India has lost all benefiting from a standard configuration, a larger component and spares pool, and the financial and sustainment advantages of the Foreign Military Sales channel, which has been used for India’s other recent large arms purchases from the US.

I can give as an assumption that India’s Navy is going to use the S-70B platform with flexible open architecture for specific purposes. Based on the Sikorsky S-70B, Indian engineers can create helicopters with original avionics and weapons systems.

Two multi-mission MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters fly in tandem
Two multi-mission MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters fly in tandem

 

Powerplant and fuel system

Number of Engines:                                 2

Engine Type:                                                T700-GE401C

Maximum Take Off:                                 3,426 shp (2,554 kw)

OEI Shaft horsepower (30 sec):        1,911 shp (1,425 kw)

 

Performance

Maximum Gross Weight:                       21,884 lbs (9,926 kg)

Maximum Cruise Speed:                         146 kts (270 km/h)

HIGE Ceiling:                                                  15,989 ft (4,873 m)

HOGE Ceiling:                                                11,222 ft (3,420 m)

AEO Service Ceiling:                                   11,864 ft (3,616 m)

 

Accommodations

Cabin Length:                                                   10.8 ft (3.2 m)

Cabin Width:                                                     6.1 ft (1.8 m)

Cabin Height:                                                    4.4 ft (1.3 m)

Cabin Area:                                                         65 ft2 (6.0 m2)

Cabin Volume:                                                  299 ft3 (8.5 m3)

The Indian Navy has selected Sikorsky S-70B
The Indian Navy has selected Sikorsky S-70B

 

Airframe

Marinized airframe structure for enhanced environmental protection

Multi-functional and durable cabin flooring

2 jettisonable cockpit doors

Single cabin sliding door

Recovery, Assist, Secure and Traverse (RAST) system structural provisions

Aircraft Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse (ASIST) system structural provisions

Automatic main rotor blade fold

Tail pylon fold

Foldable stabilator

Built-in work platforms, engine cowlings and hydraulic deck

External rescue hoist

Environmental control system

 

Cockpit

Advanced Flight Control System (AFCS) with 4 axis coupled flight director and SAR modes

Four 6×8 inch full color, multi-function mission and flight displays

Advanced Flight Management System

Cockpit voice/flight data recorder

Inertial navigation system

Secure HF & VHF/UHF communication

Satellite communication

Data link

NVG compatibility

 

Powerplant and fuel system

2 fully marinized T700GE401C engines

Auxiliary power unit

Fuel dump

Sealed tub design

2 external 120-gallon auxiliary fuel tanks

 

Rotor and drive system

Automatic main rotor blade fold

Dual redundant and isolated flight controls

Rotor brake

Blade de-ice

Rotor and drive system

 

Electrical

2 45KVA main generators

35 KVA APU generator

Redundant power distribution

Full suite of interior and exterior NVG compatible lights

 

MH-60S Knight Hawk (Multimission maritime helicopter) (http://usnavalaircraft.blogspot.ru/2014/11/mh-60s-knight-hawk.html)

Drone wings clipped

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would restrict Navy spending on the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program until the completion of a Pentagon review of its entire information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) portfolio and those results were reported back to Congress, as USNI News reported. The Navy’s FY 2015 budget submission included $403 million to further develop the UCLASS program.

X-47B UCAS. First Flight at Pax River, July 2012
X-47B UCAS. First Flight at Pax River, July 2012

As it is expected, the bill will have passed both the Senate and the House. This fateful document also directs the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to Congress on how the Navy decided on the most recently stated set of requirements for UCLASS through the prism of the emerging anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) threats the military has touted as a dangerous limitation to U.S. forces and future capabilities of a carrier strike group (CSG) in 2030.

In this regard, it is worth noting the following point: the FY 2017 budget submission will include the study, which will require the Navy to outline its plan for how the UCLASS would work with the Navy’s EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, the F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the planned next generation F/A-XX naval fighter.

Congressman Randy Forbes at HASC-led press conference
Congressman Randy Forbes at HASC-led press conference

«I am very encouraged by the conference outcome on the UCLASS program. The OSD study… will not just force a second look at requirements for this platform, but also take a broader look at our plans for the carrier air wing in the 2030 time period», Congressman J. Randy Forbes (4th district of Virginia), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee told USNI News. «We need to be measuring these programs twice and cutting only once when it comes to important new investments that we will be relying on to project power in the contested environments of the future».

The report will also require the Navy to provide an UCLASS acquisition strategy, program costs and schedule information to Congress. By the way, USNI News reporter Sam LaGrone argues that the UCLASS program inside the Navy is called the RAQ-25.

The service has pitched an UCLASS with an emphasis on surveillance and light strike in the last two years – a change from a stealthy UAV capable of penetrating strikes with a payload equivalent to the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

«The Navy may have made an appropriate set of trade-offs between costs and capabilities in deriving a set of requirements for UCLASS, but those trade-offs should be evaluated in the context of the overall CSG capability, not on the basis of individual capabilities of weapons systems or an unconstrained budget», according to a report from the bill.

An earlier House report found, «disproportionate emphasis in the requirements on unrefueled endurance to enable continuous intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to the carrier strike group, would result in an aircraft with too little survivability and too small an internal weapons payload capability». As an example, UCAV X-47B can carry up to 4,500 lbs/2,040 kg payload in contrast with F-35C – 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg total weapons payload.

Finally, we should note that four American companies – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics – have all won early contracts to develop the UCLASS concept and were expected to respond to the final request for proposal. The US Navy expects to field UCLASS by 2020.

 

The UCAS-D team moved the X-47B UCAS by elevator from the hangar bay to the flight deck
The UCAS-D team moved the X-47B UCAS by elevator from the hangar bay to the flight deck

X-47B Specifications

Wingspan:                                                    62.1 ft/18.9 m

Folded Wingspan:                                   30.9 ft/9.4 m

Length:                                                          38.2 ft/11.6 m

Height:                                                           10.4 ft/3.2 m

Wheelbase:                                                 13.9 ft/4.2 m

Altitude:                                                        >40,000 ft/12,192 m

Range:                                                            >2,100 nm/3,889 km

Max Gross Takeoff Weight:              44,000 lbs/19,958 kg

Twin Internal Weapons Bay:            4,500 lbs/2,040 kg

Top Speed:                                                   High Subsonic

Powerplant:                                                Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220U

 

 

 X-47B (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle – UCAV)(http://usnavalaircraft.blogspot.ru/2014/11/x-47b.html)

New «Scout» for the fleet

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) has delivered the first operational MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to the U.S. Navy, reported defense-aerospace.com. The new VTUAV (Vertical Takeoff and landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) system will be used by ship-based commanders to improve the Navy’s intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout sits on the tarmac at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. (Photo by Northrop Grumman)
Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout sits on the tarmac at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. (Photo by Northrop Grumman)

The MQ-8C Fire Scout is a fully autonomous, four-blade, single-engine unmanned helicopter. Like the MQ-8B, it will carry an array of reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) sensors to support warfighters’ demands for enhanced situational awareness.

The new Fire Scout supports both maritime and land-based missions, taking off and landing on aviation-capable warships, and at prepared and unprepared landing zones in proximity to ground troops. It has also been designed to operate with nearly any type of future or current military standards-based control segment, communicating as easily with shipboard controllers using the Navy’s Tactical Control Station as field commanders using the U.S. Army’s universal ground control station.

As you can see from the specifications, the new VTUAV 4,7 ft longer (with blades folded), 1,2 ft taller, 1,6 ft wider and 2850 lbs heavier than the old MQ-8B Fire Scout Vehicle.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout provides the U.S. Navy with an increased range by over 30%, twice the endurance and an increased payload capacity over the existing MQ-8B variant. Under a risk reduction and cost-savings approach, the unmanned systems architecture developed and matured for the MQ-8B is re-used in a Bell 407 helicopter to support a special operations requirement for a ship-based unmanned system, says Northrop Grumman.

The Bell 407 is a mature commercial helicopter with more than 1,000 airframes produced and over 3 million flight hours. Combined with the maturity of Northrop Grumman’s unmanned systems architecture, the MQ-8C Fire Scout uses available technology and equipment to deliver a more capable system to the Navy.

«The test program will run through the summer as we expect these aircraft to be ready for operations by year’s end», said George Vardoulakis, vice president for medium range tactical systems with Northrop Grumman.

The MQ-8C’s first shipboard flight tests aboard the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) will be conducted this winter. The Navy will then assess the advanced system for operational use.

NOC is under contract to build 19 MQ-8C Fire Scouts, including two test aircraft. The US Navy plans to purchase 70 aircraft total.

An MQ-8B Fire Scout aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) in July 2013.
An MQ-8B Fire Scout aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) in July 2013.

MQ-8B Fire Scout Specifications

Fuselage Length (with Dual Payload Nose)           23.95 ft (7.3 m)

Fuselage Width                                                                      6.20 ft (1.9 m)

Fuselage Length (with Blades Folded Forward) 30.03 ft (9.2 m)

Rotor Diameter                                                                      27.50 ft (8.4 m)

Height (Top of Tail Antenna)                                          9.71 ft (2.9 m)

Gross Weight                                                                           3,150 lbs (1428.8 kg)

Engine                                          Rolls Royce 250-C20W Turboshaft Engine

Speed                                                                                      115+ Knots (213 km/h)

Ceiling                                                                                          20,000 ft (6.1 km)

Endurance

Total Flight Time with Baseline Payload                 8+ Hrs

Total Flight Time with EO/IR + Radar                       7+ Hrs

Total Flight Time with Maximum Payload              5+ Hrs

Payloads

EO/IR/LRF/Mine Detector/Comm Relay/Maritime Radar

 

Artist conception of MQ-8C Fire Scout
Artist conception of MQ-8C Fire Scout

MQ-8С Fire Scout Specifications

Length                                                                    41.4 ft (12.6 m)

Width                                                                     7.8 ft (2.4 m)

Blades Folded Hangar                  7.8 x 34.7 x 10.9 ft (2.4 x 10.6 x 3.3 m)

Height                                                                    10.9 ft (3.3 m)

Rotor Diameter                                                 35 ft (10.7 m)

Gross Takeoff Weight                                   6,000 lbs (2721.5 kg)

Engine                                                                     Rolls-Royce 250-C47B        with Full Authority Digital Electronic Control

Performance

Speed                                                           140 knots (max) (259 km/h)

Operational Ceiling                             17,000 ft (5.1 km)

Maximum Endurance                         14 hrs

Maximum Payload (Internal)         1,000 lbs (453,6 kg)

Typical Payload                                      600 lbs (272 kg) (11 hrs endurance)

Maximum Sling Load                          2,650 lbs (1202 kg)

 

Farewell to Russia

During the Cold War (or, more precisely, «during the First Cold War», as my friend says) India has worked closely with the Russian military-industrial complex. However, in the beginning of the XXI century, this old friendship cracked.

INS Vikramaditya
INS Vikramaditya

First of all, after Russian aircraft carrier Baku was deactivated in 1996 (it was too expensive to operate on a post-Cold War budget), Russia and India signed a deal for the sale of the ship. Baku was free, while India would pay $800 million for the upgrade and refit of the ship, as well as an additional $1 billion for the aircraft and weapons systems.

The announced delivery date for INS Vikramaditya was 2008; however, India finally agreed to pay an additional $1.2 billion for the project – more than doubling the original cost. Furthermore, in July 2008, it was reported that Russia wanted to increase the price by $2 billion, blaming unexpected cost overruns on the deteriorated condition of the aircraft carrier and citing a «market price» for a new ship of $3-4 billion. On 17 September 2012, malfunctions were detected during sea trials. According to official Russian report, seven out of eight steam boilers of the propulsion machinery were out of order! Because of this, the deadline of the hand over this ship to the Indian Navy was postponed again until October 2013, and INS Vikramaditya was formally commissioned only on November 16, 2013. In May 2014, the carrier was declared operationally deployed along with its embarked air group.

Arjun MBT Mk-II
Arjun MBT Mk-II

Secondly, in 1996 the Indian government decided to mass-produce the new main battle tank at Indian Ordnance Factory’s production facility in Avadi. The Arjun project experienced serious budget overruns; nevertheless, in March 2010 the Arjun tank was pitted against the T-90 in comparative trials and performed well. The Arjun MBT Mk-II is an advanced third generation main battle tank; it had outclassed the T-90 during the trials.

Thirdly, in February 2011, French Rafales flew demonstrations in India, including air-to-air combat against Su-30MKIs. On January 31, 2012, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced the Rafale as the preferred bidder in the competition with the Eurofighter Typhoon. The contract for 126 Rafales, services, and parts could be worth as much as $20 billion.

Unfortunately, the deal was stalled from disagreements over the fighter production in India. As per the RFP issued in 2007, the first 18 jets are to be imported and the rest manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to the sources, French Dassault was reluctant to stand guarantee for the 108 fighters to be built by HAL as far as liquidity damages and timelines for production are concerned. This, the sources said, is the critical issue that is delaying the final inking.

Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale

At last, on December 1, 2014 French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian raised the issue of the multi-billion dollar deal for 126 Rafale combat aircraft during talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar who said it would be «resolved in a fast-tracked manner». The Defence Ministry is of the view that the guarantee clause was part of the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR) under the RFP that was issued. Dassault had agreed to the ASQR and hence was chosen the winner, the sources maintained.

Dassault Rafale, which would replace India’s Russian-made fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-27 planes, had stood over combat aircraft manufactured by rivals like Boeing and Lockheed Martin. At present, India has only 34 fighter jet squadrons (16-18 planes in each) against the projected need of 45 squadrons.

Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force

 

Specifications and performance data

 Dimensions

Wing span:                                              10.90 m

Length:                                                      15.30 m

Height:                                                       5.30 m

 

Weight

Overall empty weight:                      10 t (22,000 lbs) class

Max. take-off weight:                        24.5 t (54,000 lbs)

Fuel (internal):                                       4.7 t (10,300 lbs)

Fuel (external):                                      up to 6.7 t (14,700 lbs)

External load:                                         9.5 t (21,000 lbs)

 

Store stations

Total:                                                           14

Heavy-wet:                                                 5

 

Performance

Max. thrust:                                             2 x 7.5 t

Limit load factors:                                -3.2 g/+9 g

Max. speed (high altitude/low):   M = 1.8 (1,912 km/h)/750 knots

Approach speed:                                   less than 120 knots

Landing ground run:                           450 m (1,500 ft) without drag-chute

Service ceiling:                                       15,235 m (50,000 ft)