Category Archives: Air

Advanced Hawkeye

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of France of three (3) E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 6, 2020.

France operates Grumman E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft aboard its flagship, the Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and plans to replace them with three E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes at a cost of about $2 billion (USN photo)

The Government of France requests to buy:

  • three (3) E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft;
  • ten (10) T-56-427A engines (6 installed and 4 spares);
  • three (3) AN/APY-9 radar assemblies;
  • four (4) AN/ALQ-217 electronic support measure systems (3 installed and 1 spare);
  • three (3) AN/AYK-27 Integrated Navigation Channels and Display Systems;
  • five (5) Link-16 (MIDS-JTRS) Communications Systems (3 installed and 2 spares);
  • ten (10) Embedded GPS/INS (EGI) Devices (6 installed and 4 spares);
  • four (4) AN/APX-122(A) and AN/APX-123(A) Identification, Friend or Foe systems (3 installed and 1 spare);
  • one (1) Joint Mission Planning System.

Also included are Common Systems Integration Laboratories with/Test Equipment, one in Melbourne, Florida, and the other in France; air and ground crew equipment; support equipment; spare and repair parts; publications and technical documentation; transportation; training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor logistics, engineering, and technical support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

The total estimated program cost is $2 billion.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of a NATO ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.

The proposed sale will improve France’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing its Naval Air Forces with a sustainable follow on capability to their current, legacy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft will continue and expand French naval aviation capabilities and maintain interoperability with U.S. naval forces. As a current E-2C operator, France will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Northrop Grumman Systems Corp, Aerospace Systems, Melbourne, Florida. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the Purchaser and the prime contractor.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to France.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness resulting from this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

For Special Operations

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, and Boeing delivered the first CMV-22B Osprey for fleet operations to the U.S. Navy on June 22. The V-22 is based at Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

The first CMV-22B Osprey assigned to Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 landed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego on June 22 (U.S. Navy photo)

«This first fleet delivery marks a new chapter of the V-22 Tiltrotor program providing enhanced capabilities and increased flexibility to the U.S. Navy as they conduct important operational missions around the globe», said Shane Openshaw, Boeing vice president of Tiltrotor Programs and deputy director of the Bell Boeing team.

This aircraft is the third overall delivery to the U.S. Navy. Bell Boeing delivered the first CMV-22B Osprey at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in February for developmental testing, followed by a second in May. The U.S. Navy variant V-22 will take over the Carrier Onboard Delivery Mission, replacing the C-2A Greyhound.

«We are thrilled to bring the Osprey’s capabilities as a warfighting enabler and its ability to provide time sensitive logistics to the men and women deployed around the world in support of U.S. Navy operations», said Kurt Fuller, Bell V-22 vice president and Bell Boeing program director.

The CMV-22B Osprey and C-2A Greyhound conducted a symbolic passing of the torch flight in April.

«The CMV-22 will be a game-changing enabler to the high end fight supporting the sustainment of combat lethality to the carrier strike group», said U.S. Navy Captain Dewon Chaney, Commodore, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing. «The multi-mission capabilities of the CMV-22, already recognized, will be realized in Naval Aviation’s Air Wing of the future. The arrival of this aircraft is the first of many steps to that becoming reality».

The CMV-22B Osprey carries up to 6,000 pounds/2,722 kg of cargo and combines the Vertical TakeOff, hover and Landing (VTOL) qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft.

Bell Boeing designed the Navy variant to have the expanded range needed for fleet operations. Two additional 60-gallon tanks and redesigned forward sponson tanks can cover more than 1,150 nautical miles. The CMV-22B Osprey also has the unique ability to provide roll-on/roll-off delivery of the F135 engine power module, enhancing the U.S. Navy’s readiness.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces
Contractor Bell-Boeing
Date Deployed 2009
Propulsion Two Rolls-Royce Liberty AE1107C engines, each deliver 6,200 shaft horsepower/4,560 kW
Rotor Diameter 38 feet/11.58 meters; Blades per rotor: Three
Length 63 feet/19.2 meters
Height 22 feet/6.7 meters, 1 inch/2.54 centimeters with nacelles vertical
Wingspan 84.6 feet/25.79 meters with rotors turning
Maximum gross, Vertical Take-Off 52,600 lbs./23,859 kg
Maximum gross, Short Take-Off 57,000 lbs./ 25,855 kg
Airspeed Cruise: 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h
Ceiling 25,000 feet/7,620 meters
Range 2,100 NM/2,417 miles/3,889 km with internal auxiliary fuel tanks
Crew 4 – pilot, copilot, flight engineer, crew chief; 24 troops

 

Phoenix

The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NAGSF), with support from Northrop Grumman Corporation, marked a significant milestone recently in the System Level Performance Verification with the completion of a nine-hour training and test flight conducted for the first time under control of NAGSF trained pilots.

NATO RQ-4D Phoenix Reaches New Milestone

«Northrop Grumman is proud to support NAGSF pilots training as they control flights with number one NATO RQ-4D Phoenix», said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. «We remain committed in our relationship to NATO and the mission to protect and defend global security».

The NATO AGS RQ-4D aircraft is based on the U.S. Air Force wide area surveillance Global Hawk. It has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements and will provide NATO state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. This includes protecting ground troops, civilian populations and international borders in peacetime, times of conflict and for humanitarian missions during natural disasters.

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.

400th Osprey

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, and Boeing have delivered the 400th V-22 Osprey to the United States Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations command received the CV-22 Osprey on June 2, marking a milestone for the world’s first production tiltrotor aircraft.

Bell Boeing deliver 400th V-22 Osprey

«The delivery of the 400th V-22 Osprey represents the demand for this platform’s unique capabilities. It is a testament to the diligence of the men and women from Bell, Boeing and our entire supply chain who build and deliver this incredible aircraft to our customers», said Kurt Fuller, Bell V-22 Osprey vice president and Bell Boeing program director. «For over 30 years, the people who support the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey have been the foundation in bringing tiltrotor capabilities to the world».

The CV-22 Osprey is the Special Operations Forces (SOF) variant of the V-22 Osprey. The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for Air Commandos around the world and at a moment’s notice.

«It’s been over 20 years since the first production V-22 Osprey was delivered, and we are proud to reach another milestone in our 400th delivery. V-22s continue to be in high demand, protecting our country and our allies around the world through combat operations, international training partnerships and humanitarian missions», said Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Osprey Joint Program Office (PMA-275). «This platform’s impact can’t be overstated».

The V-22 Osprey’s combination of speed, range, payload and vertical lift are ideally suited to the diverse environments, geographies and mission-types performed by operators around the world. The Marine Corps variant, the MV-22B Osprey, provides the safe and reliable transportation of personnel, supplies and equipment for combat assault, assault support and fleet logistics. Since 2007, it has been continuously forward-deployed in a range of combat, humanitarian and special operations. The Navy variant, the CMV-22B Osprey, is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the carrier onboard delivery mission.

Ospreys continue to transform airpower capabilities by enabling the successful completion of missions not possible with conventional aircraft. The V-22 Osprey production line is currently on its third multi-year procurement contract.

Anti-Radiation Missile

The U.S. Navy completed the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Patuxent River test range.

The U.S. Navy conducts the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River test range in Maryland (U.S. Navy photo)

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. Test points were completed across a range of flight conditions to demonstrate carriage compatibility of AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

«This first flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase», said Captain Mitch Commerford, who oversees the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242). «Data collected from this testing will inform the planned build-up and overall expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER».

Testing will continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023, he said.

The extended range variant, which leverages the AARGM program that’s currently in full rate production, has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead. It will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will also be compatible for integration on the F-35A/B/C Lightning II.

Low Level Flight

The Airbus A400M new generation airlifter has achieved a new decisive milestone after the certification of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability, offering a unique in its class capability for a military transport aircraft.

Airbus A400M achieves Automatic Low Level Flight certification

The certification campaign, performed in April above the Pyrenees and central France, involved operations down to 500 feet/152 m, including transitions from low level flight to other operations like aerial delivery.

This first certification phase concerns operations with Visual Meteorological Conditions, meaning with crew visibility. There will be a second phase including Instrumental Meteorological Conditions, without visibility, to be certified in Q2 2021.

Inherent to the fighter aircraft world, and as a unique capability for a military transport aircraft, the Automatic Low Level Flights improves the A400M’s terrain masking and survivability, making the aircraft less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats when cruising towards key military operations like aerial delivery, air-to-air refuelling, logistic or other specific special operations.

 

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

 

Super Hercules Tanker

Lockheed Martin recently delivered the first KC-130J Super Hercules tanker assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452), the Marine Forces Reserve squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York. A U.S. Marine Corps crew ferried the aircraft from Lockheed Martin’s facility here on May 28 to the aircraft’s new home.

On May 28, 2020, Lockheed Martin delivered the first KC-130J Super Hercules tanker assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452), the Marine Forces Reserve squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York (Photo by David Key)

VMGR-452 is the second Marine Reserve squadron to operate KC-130Js and this delivery signifies the recapitalization of the squadron’s existing KC-130T fleet. VMGR-452 – known as the Yankees – has operated Hercules tankers for more than 30 years, flying KC-130s in support of Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

«The KC-130 Hercules tanker has been a pivotal part of Marine Corps aviation operations since 1960, a relationship that began with the KC-130F and R-models, transitioned to the KC-130T and continues now with the KC-130J Super Hercules», said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business. «Our C-130 team knows this delivery is significant and represents increased capability for VMGR-452. We are proud to support our Marine aviation partners as they continue to be ‘first to fight’».

KC-130s are operated in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander by providing tactical in-flight refueling for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tilt-rotor aircraft; aviation delivered ground refueling of aircraft or tactical vehicles; assault air transport or air-landed or aerial-delivered (parachute) personnel and equipment; pathfinder support, battlefield illumination; tactical aeromedical evacuation; and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel support.

The proven and battle-tested KC-130J builds on the Hercules’ proven tanker refueling system while taking full advantage of the tremendous technological and performance enhancements found only in a Super Hercules. Compared to legacy models, the KC-130J Super Hercules delivers increased speed and fuel efficiency, improved payload/range capabilities, an integrated defensive suite, automated maintenance fault reporting, high-altitude ramp and door hydraulics, and unmatched situational awareness with its digital avionics and dual Head Up Displays.

The KC-130J is one of nine production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. With 460+ aircraft delivered, the C‑130J is the airlifter of choice for 20 nations. The global Super Hercules fleet has more than 2 million flight hours of experience supporting almost any mission requirement — anytime, anywhere.

The U.S. Marine Corps has the distinction of operating the largest KC-130J Super Hercules fleet in the world. This delivery continues the U.S. government’s transition to the C-130J as the common platform across Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Osprey 30 AESA radar

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will upgrade to Leonardo’s latest Osprey radar to support missions such as search and rescue, border protection, fishery and pollution patrols. The Osprey 30 radar will be installed on-board the two customised Beechcraft King Air aircraft provided to the UK MCA by UK-based aviation services company 2Excel.

UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency to get latest radar technology from Leonardo

Currently, the UK MCA is operating Leonardo’s Seaspray 7300E radar, which has been employed to great effect in support of regular fishery and pollution patrols around the UK. The radar comes equipped with Leonardo’s patented small target detection capability, allowing it to spot shipwrecked individuals in the water at long range, even in the most difficult environmental conditions and sea states. Additionally, the radar provides the ability for MCA crews to identify oil spills and rogue polluters at very long range, day or night.

2Excel will build on this success by equipping the MCA King Airs with Leonardo’s second generation Osprey radar, the latest entry in its range of E-scan surveillance radars. Osprey benefits from all of the capabilities of the Company’s Seaspray family whilst also adding additional modes and optimized overland and coastal imaging capabilities. This makes the radar ideally suited to mixed environment operations, such as along the coast.

Traditionally, coastguard aircraft have used radars with restricted fields of view and limited detection capabilities, making searches laborious and resource-intensive. Leonardo’s radars solve these problems. The Company is a world leader in E-scan, also known as Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) technology, which uses a matrix of hundreds of tiny radar modules to ‘steer’ an electronic beam, rather than mechanically moving the radar to point at a target. With a Leonardo E-Scan radar, crews can lift off, scan in 360 degrees and almost-instantaneously detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime contacts, allowing crews to quickly task cooperating aircraft to deeply search an area of interest. Other E-scan advantages include extremely high reliability, as the radar can continue to operate effectively throughout a mission even if a number of its individual radar modules fail. Customers in 30 countries have selected Leonardo’s E-scan radars including the Seaspray and Osprey families, with the US Navy procuring the Osprey 30 radar for its Fire Scout unmanned helicopter programme.

Flight testing

The U.S. Navy, with support from Northrop Grumman Corporation, commenced flight testing of the MQ-8C Fire Scout equipped with the Leonardo AN/ZPY-8 radar.

First deployed MQ-8Cs will be equipped with AN/ZPY-8 radar

«The AN/ZPY-8 radar significantly increases Fire Scout’s detection and tracking of targets. The ability to simultaneously employ multiple modes supports U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements», said Melissa Packwood, program manager, tactical autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. «This increased capability enables Fire Scout to extend ranges to meet emerging requirements».

Operating out of Webster Outlying Field, the MQ-8C’s first flight with the radar occurred February 27. Testing began with several weeks of ground test prior to the first flight and continues to progress as the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman consider mission expansion opportunities for the platform.

To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered 32 of 38 MQ-8Cs to the U.S. Navy, all of which will be retrofit with the AN/ZPY-8 radar. The MQ-8C achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in June 2019 and is scheduled for its first deployment in 2021.

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.

First Loyal Wingman

A Boeing-led Australian industry team has presented the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force, a historic milestone for the company and the Commonwealth.

Boeing Australia has built the first of three Loyal Wingman aircraft, which will serve as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the global defense market. The aircraft are designed to fly alongside existing platforms and use artificial intelligence to conduct teaming missions (Boeing photo)

The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, is the first to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years. It is Boeing’s largest investment in an unmanned aircraft outside of the United States.

As the first of three prototypes for Australia’s Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program, the aircraft also serves as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) being developed for the global defense market.

«This is a truly historic moment for our country and for Australian defence innovation», said the Honourable Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia. «The Loyal Wingman will be pivotal to exploring the critical capabilities our Air Force needs to protect our nation and its allies into the future».

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force, said the rollout of the first aircraft was a significant milestone in the Boeing Loyal Wingman project.

«This project is an excellent example of innovation through collaboration and what can be achieved working together with defence industry», said Air Marshal Hupfeld. «This demonstrates the importance of the relationship Air Force has with Boeing Australia and defence industry more broadly. I look forward to exploring the capabilities this aircraft may bring to our existing fleet in the future».

More than 35 members of Australian industry are supporting prototype work across four Australian states. With a global market demand for highly capable but extremely affordable unmanned aircraft, Boeing applied company-wide innovation to achieve those goals. The aircraft was engineered using a digital twin to model its structures, systems, capabilities and full life-cycle requirements; manufactured with Boeing’s largest-ever resin-infused single composite piece; and assembled using proven advanced manufacturing processes.

«We are proud to take this significant step forward with the Royal Australian Air Force and show the potential for smart unmanned teaming to serve as a force multiplier», said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Systems for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. «We look forward to getting the aircraft into flight testing and proving out the unmanned teaming concept. We see global allies with those same mission needs, which is why this program is so important to advancing the development of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System».

The Loyal Wingman prototype now moves into ground testing, followed by taxi and first flight later this year.