Category Archives: Air

Medium Lift UAV

Kaman Corporation on September 21, 2021 unveiled the KARGO Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the newest addition to its family of purpose-built, autonomous unmanned systems designed to be the new standard for expeditionary logistics. Built with the U.S. Armed Forces future operating concepts in mind, the KARGO UAV offers a rugged design for easy transport and deployment. The system’s compact form-factor fits in a standard shipping container and is designed to be unloaded and operated by as few as two people.

KARGO UAV
Kaman Unveils New Medium Lift UAV: the KARGO UAV is a New Solution for Expeditionary Logistics

«The Kaman KARGO UAV is the only system of its class that is purpose-built to provide deployed Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers, and Coast Guard autonomous resupply in the lethal, fluid combat environment that future military operations will entail or for regular logistics missions. Our deployed service men and woman have persistent logistics challenges that we are answering with this reliable, maintainable and affordable solution», said Ian Walsh, CEO of Kaman Corporation.

Designed to provide cost-effective cargo hauling in its conformal pod or external sling load configuration, the KARGO UAV will self-deploy with no payload up to 523 nautical miles/602 miles/968.6 km with max lifting capacity of 800 lbs./363 kg. This size and class vehicle also has multiple commercial applications and is part of a growth strategy involving a family of purpose built KARGO vehicles for multiple and repeatable missions.

Over the past six months, flight development testing of a scaled KARGO UAV demonstrator has been completed to prove out the air vehicle design, and flight-testing of a full-scale autonomous vehicle is planned for 2022. The KARGO UAV leverages commercial off-the-shelf components as well as thousands of hours of automated and autonomous flight data from Kaman’s K-MAX TITAN program, to reduce schedule and technical risk.

Kaman selected Near Earth Autonomy as a partner on the pilot KARGO UAV program. Leveraging ongoing and concurrent collaboration between the two companies on the U.S. Marines Corps K-MAX TITAN UAS, Near Earth will provide obstacle avoidance and other technologies such as precision landing, sense and avoid, and navigation in a GPS-denied environment.

«We are extremely excited to provide this advanced, game-changing technology to the market and leverage Kaman’s 75 years as a pioneer in aerospace and defense. Our vision is to propel our customers forward by imagining and delivering highly engineered products that solve our customer’s toughest problems», stated Darlene Smith, President of Kaman Air Vehicles.

100th AH-1Z Viper

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has successfully completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z Viper aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, which began nearly four years ago. Bell accomplished this milestone through tight coordination with its manufacturing and assembly facilities, UAW 218, numerous suppliers, and government partners. The H-1 series consists of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, which provide light attack and utility helicopter support to the Marines while maintaining a small logistical footprint through the 85% commonality between the airframes.

AH-1Z Viper
Bell Completes 100th Consecutive On-Time Delivery of AH-1Z to U.S. Marines

«Performance like this takes a lot of work, communication, and trust to ensure alignment between numerous partners, all working toward the same objective. I could not be more proud of our Bell employees», said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. «Our front line workers, engineers, and supply chain professionals all help support the Marines. Their work designing, manufacturing, and assembling critical components while ensuring quality parts reach the production line on time help the Marines ensure our nation’s security».

Bell and its Team Viper/Venom partners collaborate with the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276) to provide integrated solutions and increase combat lethality and readiness. In addition to delivering production aircraft on time, Bell directly supports scheduled maintenance. The company is also working on new capability upgrades to equip the Marines with the most advanced technology available.

«This is a feat only possible through the determination of our production team and the program’s strong relationship with our industry partners and suppliers», said Colonel Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.

Bell is currently working toward the U.S. Marine Corps program of record (POR) and anticipates production of Marine Corps H-1 through 2022. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 production contract is for 349 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper. Bell will continue manufacturing aircraft for foreign military customers including contracts for Bahrain AH-1Zs and a mixed Czech Republic fleet of both AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys.

Next Strategic Tanker

Lockheed Martin introduces the LMXT as America’s next strategic tanker – built in America by Americans for Americans. Offered in response to the U.S. Air Force’s KC-Y Program, the LMXT represents the newest chapter in Lockheed Martin’s 60+ year history of producing and delivering tanker and cargo aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and multiple operators around the world.

LMXT
Lockheed Martin Offers the LMXT for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-Y Program

The LMXT complements the U.S. Air Force’s tanker capabilities by providing the most advanced aerial refueler to meet America’s immediate and long-term mission requirements. The LMXT strengthens and expands the U.S. aerospace industrial base by working with existing and new American suppliers. The LMXT also cultivates and sustains high-tech, high-skill American manufacturing jobs.

«Lockheed Martin has a long and successful track record of producing aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and we understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success», said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. «The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refueling requirements in support of America’s National Defense Strategy».

The LMXT offers a proven airframe with distinct U.S. Air Force-only capabilities designed to meet operator requirements, with advantages that include:

  • Significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity;
  • A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world;
  • The world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system;
  • Operational and combat proven advanced camera and vision system;
  • Open system architecture JADC2 systems;
  • A multi-domain operations node that connects the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and datalink for assets across the force.

The Lockheed Martin strategic tanker builds on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement U.S. Air Force-specific requirements within the LMXT. As the strategic tanker of choice for 13 nations, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling U.S. and allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments.

Mission with F-35C

The U.S. Navy and Boeing have used the MQ-25TM T1 test asset to refuel a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet for the first time, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to achieve its primary aerial refueling mission.

MQ-25 Stingray
Boeing’s MQ-25 T1 test asset transfers fuel to a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet Sept. 13 during a flight-test mission. The U.S. Navy and Boeing have conducted three refueling flights in the past three months, including an F/A-18 Super Hornet and E-2D Hawkeye (Kevin Flynn photo)

This was the third refueling mission for the Boeing-owned test asset in just over three months, advancing the test program for the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. T1 refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August.

«Every test flight with another Type/Model/Series aircraft gets us one step closer to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 Stingray to the fleet», said Captain Chad Reed, the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability is going to increase the U.S. Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders».

During a test flight September 13, an F-35C Lightning II test pilot from the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) conducted a successful wake survey behind T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue and receiving fuel.

«This flight was yet another physical demonstration of the maturity and stability of the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft design», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray program director. «Thanks to this latest mission in our accelerated test program, we are confident the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft we are building right now will meet the U.S. Navy’s primary requirement – delivering fuel safely to the carrier air wing».

The T1 flight test program began in September 2019 with the aircraft’s first flight. In the following two years, the test program completed more than 120 flight hours – gathering data on everything from aircraft performance to propulsion dynamics to structural loads and flutter testing for strength and stability.

MQ-25 Stingray is benefitting from the two years of early flight test data, which has been integrated back into its digital models to strengthen the digital thread connecting aircraft design to production to test to operations and sustainment. Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two MQ-25 Stingray test aircraft.

T1 will be used to conduct a deck handling demonstration aboard a U.S. Navy carrier in the coming months to help advance the carrier integration progress.

Fleet mission

The CH-53K King Stallion successfully recovered a Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter from Mount Hogue in the White Mountains of California on Sunday, September 5. The two-day operation was the first official fleet mission for the Marine Corps’ new heavy lift capability, which is in the midst of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.

CH-53K King Stallion
A Marine Corps CH-53K King Stallion lifts a Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter from a draw in Mount Hogue, California, September 5, 2021. The Knighthawk conducted a hard landing during a search-and-rescue mission, which resulted in no casualties or injuries of its crew. The two-day operation was the first official fleet mission for the CH-53K King Stallion, as it is currently undergoing an operational assessment while the Marine Corps modernizes and prepares to respond globally to emerging crises or contingencies (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Therese Edwards)

«VMX-1 received a request for assistance from the Naval Safety Center about an MH-60S Knighthawk that suffered a hard landing near Mount Hogue, California, at an elevation of 12,000’ Mean Sea Level (MSL) in July», said Lieutenant Colonel Luke Frank, CH-53K King Stallion Detachment Officer in Charge for VMX-1.

The MH-60S Knighthawk was sitting on a high altitude ridge in very rugged terrain near the California-Nevada line on July 16 following a hard landing. The helicopter was supporting a search and rescue effort for a lost hiker. All four crewmembers survived without injury and were rescued the following day.

According to Frank, both the MH-60S Knighthawk unit and the Naval Safety Center had exhausted all other resources for recovery, including Army National Guard, Navy and Marine Corps fleet squadrons. «They all lacked the capability to lift the aircraft without an extensive disassembly», he said.

VMX-1’s CH-53K King Stallion detachment quickly examined the environmental conditions and conducted a quick feasibility assessment of support and determined that the CH-53K King Stallion could conduct the lift. The CH-53K King Stallion fulfills the heavy lift mission of the Marine Corps as it greatly expands the fleet’s ability to move equipment and personnel throughout its area of operations.

«After two weeks of exhaustive planning and assembling a team of more than 25 Marines and sailors from VMX-1 and 1st Landing Support Battalion from Camp Pendleton, California we deployed two CH-53Ks to Bishop, California, and got to work», he said.

The CH-53K King Stallion was designed to lift nearly 14 tons (27,000 lbs.) at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/203.7 km in high and hot environments; a capability that expands the service’s range in supporting joint and coalition forces against potential adversaries.

The MH-60S Knighthawk weighed approximately 15,200 lbs./6,894.6 kg and was positioned in a tight ravine at nearly 12,000’ MSL and needed to be transported over 23 nautical miles/26.5 miles/42.6 km to the Bishop, California airport.

«After six months of flight operations with the CH-53K King Stallion, the detachment had every confidence in the aircraft’s abilities to conduct the mission safely. Our main concern was the environmental factors ground support personnel would have to endure», said Frank.

«This is exactly what the K is made to do», he said. «Heavy lift is a unique and invaluable mission for the Marine Corps. Horsepower is our weapon system and the CH-53K King Stallion is armed to the teeth. The entire team of Marines at VMX-1, 1st Landing Support Battalion, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon Search and Rescue were extremely motivated to execute this mission and we are all very proud to have completed this one flawlessly. To be the first group of professionals to complete a real-world, heavy lift/high altitude mission in support of a unit who thought all options were off the table is extremely rewarding», said Frank. «This is sure to be the first of what will be many, many successful missions for this aircraft and for heavy lift squadrons».

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs/33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs/39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/530 miles/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

Friend-or-Foe

The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a $26 million contract for Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) spares for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Under the contract, BAE Systems will provide Beamforming Networks (BFNs), an integral part of antenna control for the AN/APX-122A IFF Interrogator system, onboard the carrier-capable tactical aircraft.

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
Delivering situational awareness for U.S. Navy warfighters

«These sets will provide situational awareness and early warning for U.S. Navy sailors and warfighters», said Donna Linke-Klein, director of Tactical Systems at BAE Systems. «The Advanced Hawkeye is essential for battle management command and control, and our interrogator systems enable operators to identify friendly forces and make informed decisions in a variety of threat environments».

The AN/APX-122A IFF Interrogator system provides positive identification of friendly aircraft, giving E-2D Advanced Hawkeye operators the situational awareness, they need to safely complete their missions. These missions include command and control, border security, search and rescue, and missile defense. The AN/APX-122A IFF Interrogator system is produced exclusively for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, due to the extraordinary requirements for this aircraft.

BAE Systems’ IFF aircraft identification systems provide time-critical insights that reduce friendly fire incidents, support mission success, and save lives – especially in hostile environments. BAE Systems has been a leader in IFF systems technology for more than seven decades, having delivered more than 14,000 transponders, 1,500 interrogators, and 6,000 combined interrogator transponder systems for use across a multitude of platforms.

Assault Aircraft

On September 7, 2021 the Sikorsky-Boeing team released the following statement on the early submittal of the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

DEFIANT X
DEFIANT X is a helicopter that offers high-speed performance while retaining traditional helicopter agility and maneuverability, delivering more combat power on the objective than other proposals for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. While operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK, DEFIANT X delivers transformational capability and affordability – including efficient sustainment, advanced manufacturing techniques and minimized training time and costs (Image courtesy Sikorsky and Boeing)

This statement can be attributed to Paul Lemmo, president, Sikorsky, and to Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager, Vertical Lift, Boeing Defense, Space & Security:

«Continuing a 75-year partnership with the U.S. Army, providing and sustaining the iconic BLACK HAWK, Chinook and Apache, the Sikorsky-Boeing team looks to the future with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft – DEFIANT X. Today, Team DEFIANT completed and submitted the proposal for the U.S. Army’s FLRAA competition, offering low-risk, transformational capability that delivers on an Army critical modernization priority and advances the future of Army aviation. DEFIANT X delivers speed where it matters, survivability, unsurpassed power, maneuverability, superior handling in any environment and lower lifecycle costs – while operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK. We are confident that DEFIANT X, supported by our longstanding Army industrial base suppliers, is the best choice for delivering overmatch on the Multi-Domain Operational battlefield in United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and across the globe».

Air Launched Effects

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully conducted its first flight test of an Air-Launched Effects (ALE) drone based on the company’s Coyote uncrewed aircraft system design. The ALE air vehicle design meets the U.S. Army’s defined specifications for size, weight and power requirements for the Future Vertical Lift program.

Air Launched Effects (ALE)
An Area-I Air-Launched, Tube-Integrated, Unmanned System, or ALTIUS, sails through the skies at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, March 4 where the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center led a demonstration that highlighted the forward air launch of the ALTIUS (Photo by Jose Mejia-Betancourth/CCDC AvMC Technology Development Directorate)

For the test, the team demonstrated a launch of an ALE configuration intended for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The ALE air vehicle was ground launched from the canister, spread its wings, and accomplished stable flight. All test objectives were achieved, including low-altitude launch, wing and flight surface deployment, and stable air vehicle flight control.

«Leveraging the maturity of the Coyote design, we are well-positioned to offer the Army a reliable, sustainable and cost-effective air-launched effects air vehicle», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «Our solution’s modular open systems architecture design means it can rapidly integrate new technologies to take on advanced threats and protect aircrews in future high-end fights».

The launch was the first in a series of increasingly complex, near-term flight tests that will advance the ALE air vehicle’s design, including payload integration, and further demonstrate its performance and maturity.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense is one of three companies awarded Other Transaction Authority contracts in August 2020 to produce ALE air vehicle designs. Raytheon Technologies businesses were also chosen for projects aimed at developing ALE mission systems and payloads.

Kazakh Atlas

The Republic of Kazakhstan has placed an order for two Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg.

A400M Atlas
The Republic of Kazakhstan orders two Airbus A400Ms

With delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local Airbus C295 maintenance centre.

«The A400M Atlas will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations», said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «This new export contract brings the total number of A400M Atlas orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M Atlas has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for».

With the capacity to accommodate the country’s inventory and conduct military, civil and humanitarian missions, the A400M Atlas will enable Kazakhstan to quickly respond to any mission by rapidly deploying game-changing capabilities over long distances and enabling effective access to remote areas.

 

Specifications

DIMENSIONS
Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
WEIGHTS
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
ENGINE (×4)
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
RANGE
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km

 

Army reconnaissance

Northrop Grumman Corporation and Martin UAV (a Shield AI company) have completed successful flight testing of a V-BAT Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) with new features including GPS-denied navigation and target designation capabilities.

V-BAT
Northrop Grumman and Martin UAV conduct flight testing of Martin UAV’s V-BAT aircraft for the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System effort in Camp Grafton, North Dakota

«The enhanced V-BAT offers a near zero footprint, flexible Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capability that is based on a platform deployed operationally today, to address the U.S. Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) mission», said Kenn Todorov, sector vice president and general manager, global sustainment and modernization, Northrop Grumman. «The team brings more than 30 years’ experience in the production, delivery and sustainment of unmanned aircraft systems to support this critical mission today and into the future».

For FTUAS, the U.S. Army is seeking a rapidly deployable, GPS-denied navigation-capable, expeditionary VTOL system capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance for U.S. Army Brigade Combat Teams, Special Forces, and Ranger battalions.

The offering is based on the industry leading Martin UAV V-BAT UAS. It is compact, lightweight, simple to operate, and can be set up, launched and recovered by a two-soldier team in confined environments. The V-BAT also is designed with sufficient payload capacity to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and Electronic Warfare (EW) payloads, depending on mission-specific requirements. Additionally, Shield AI’s recent acquisition of Martin UAV will enable rapid development of GPS-denied and autonomy capabilities for V-BAT through the future porting of Shield AI’s autonomy stack, Hivemind onto V-BAT.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.