Category Archives: Air

Augmentation System

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals are critical tools for industries requiring exact precision and high confidence. Now, Geoscience Australia, an agency of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Lockheed Martin have entered into a collaborative research project to show how augmenting signals from multiple GNSS constellations can enhance positioning, navigation, and timing for a range of applications.

Second-Generation Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS)
Second-Generation Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS)

This innovative research project aims to demonstrate how a second-generation Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) testbed can – for the first time – use signals from both the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Galileo constellation, and dual frequencies, to achieve even greater GNSS integrity and accuracy. Over two years, the testbed will validate applications in nine industry sectors: agriculture, aviation, construction, maritime, mining, rail, road, spatial, and utilities.

«Many industries rely on GNSS signals for accurate, safe navigation. Users must be confident in the position solutions calculated by GNSS receivers. The term ‘integrity’ defines the confidence in the position solutions provided by GNSS», explained Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive Vince Di Pietro. «Industries where safety-of-life navigation is crucial want assured GNSS integrity».

Ultimately, the second-generation SBAS testbed will broaden understanding of how this technology can benefit safety, productivity, efficiency and innovation in Australia’s industrial and research sectors.

«We are excited to have an opportunity to work with Geoscience Australia and Australian industry to demonstrate the best possible GNSS performance and proud that Australia will be leading the way to enhance space-based navigation and industry safety», Di Pietro added.

Basic GNSS signals are accurate enough for many civil positioning, navigation and timing users. However, these signals require augmentation to meet higher safety-of-life navigation requirements. The second-generation SBAS will mitigate that issue.

Once the SBAS testbed is operational, basic GNSS signals will be monitored by widely-distributed reference stations operated by Geoscience Australia. An SBAS testbed master station, installed by teammate GMV, of Spain, will collect that reference station data, compute corrections and integrity bounds for each GNSS satellite signal, and generate augmentation messages.

«A Lockheed Martin uplink antenna at Uralla, New South Wales will send these augmentation messages to an SBAS payload hosted aboard a geostationary Earth orbit satellite, owned by Inmarsat», explains Rod Drury, Director, International Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. «This satellite rebroadcasts the augmentation messages containing corrections and integrity data to the end users. The whole process takes less than six seconds».

By augmenting signals from multiple GNSS constellations – both Galileo and GPS – second-generation SBAS is not dependent on just one GNSS. It will also use signals on two frequencies – the L1 and L5 GPS signals, and their companion E1 and E5a Galileo signals – to provide integrity data and enhanced accuracy for industries that need it the most.

Partners in this collaborative research project include the government of Australia. Lockheed Martin will provide systems integration expertise in addition to the Uralla radio frequency uplink. GMV-Spain will provide their ‘magicGNSS’ processors. Inmarsat will provide the navigation payload hosted on the 4F1 geostationary satellite. The Australia and New Zealand Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information will coordinate the demonstrator projects that test the SBAS infrastructure.

Lockheed Martin has significant experience with space-based navigation systems. The company developed and produced 20 GPS IIR and IIR-M satellites. It also maintains the GPS Architecture Evolution Plan ground control system, which operates the entire 31-satellite constellation.

First Flight

Northrop Grumman Corporation, in partnership with the U.S. Army Prototype Integration Facility and prime contractor Redstone Defense Systems, has successfully completed the first flight of the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter.

The UH-60V Black Hawk flew for the first time on January 19 in Huntsville, Alabama
The UH-60V Black Hawk flew for the first time on January 19 in Huntsville, Alabama

Northrop Grumman provided the Integrated Avionics Suite for the UH-60V, which upgrades the U.S. Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters with a digital cockpit, under a contract awarded in 2014. The scalable, fully integrated and open architecture-based cockpit design replaces older analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays in the upgraded aircraft. The UH-60V features one of the Army’s most advanced avionics solutions, enabling the complex missions of the army aviation warfighter.

On January 19, the UH-60V Black Hawk successfully flew for the first time with this digitized cockpit in Huntsville. This important milestone was the culmination of a cockpit design and development effort that was completed on schedule within 29 months of the original contract award. The team’s accomplishment achieves the specific timeline set by Army leadership over two years prior to the first flight.

«This UH-60V first flight accomplishment reaffirms our open, safe and secure cockpit solutions that will enable the most advanced capabilities for warfighters», said Ike Song, vice president, mission solutions, Northrop Grumman. «We remain committed to delivering an affordable, low-risk solution that provides long-term value and flexibility to customers».

The UH-60V digital cockpit solution is aligned with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) standard and supports integration of off-the-shelf hardware and software, enabling rapid insertion of capabilities in multiple avionics platforms while reducing cost and risk for system integration and upgrades. The open architecture approach provides greater flexibility and enables upgrades to be done with or without the original equipment manufacturer’s involvement.

The UH-60V meets the standards for safety-critical software development and is designed to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency’s Global Air Traffic Management requirements, enabling the system to traverse military and civilian airspace worldwide. It is also certifiable and compliant with safety-critical avionics standards such as DO-178C.

The UH-60V Black Hawk program will modernize the Army’s fleet of UH‑60L helicopters through cost-effective cockpit upgrades. The new system is nearly identical to the UH‑60M pilot-vehicle interface, providing common training and operational employment.

The pilot and crew prepare for an initial test flight of the UH-60V Black Hawk, which successfully flew for the first time on January 19 in Huntsville, Alabama. Northrop Grumman delivered the Integrated Avionics Suite for the UH-60V, which is designed to update existing UH-60L analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays
The pilot and crew prepare for an initial test flight of the UH-60V Black Hawk, which successfully flew for the first time on January 19 in Huntsville, Alabama. Northrop Grumman delivered the Integrated Avionics Suite for the UH-60V, which is designed to update existing UH-60L analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays

Communications ball

While it may resemble a giant beach ball, the inflatable Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive (GATR) ball is actually the Army’s latest piece of satellite communications equipment. The technology is so new that the 369th Sustainment Brigade’s GATR ball has a serial number in the single digits.

Signal Soldiers of the 369th Sustainment Brigade practice aligning a Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive (GATR) Ball at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on January 10, 2017. The GATR Ball is a portable satellite communications system that can be deployed to remote areas in a relatively short amount of time (Photo Credit: Sergeant Jeremy Bratt)
Signal Soldiers of the 369th Sustainment Brigade practice aligning a Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive (GATR) Ball at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on January 10, 2017. The GATR Ball is a portable satellite communications system that can be deployed to remote areas in a relatively short amount of time (Photo Credit: Sergeant Jeremy Bratt)

Designed to be lighter and more compact than traditional, rigid satellite dishes, the GATR ball can be broken down into just a few cases and hand carried anywhere in the world. The self-contained system can then be inflated and set up in less than two hours, ready to provide a variety of communication services.

«The portability of the GATR system is its key feature», explained Sergeant First Class Brian Horne, the information assurance supervisor for the 369th Sustainment Brigade (SB). «It can be set up and operated by a crew of three just about anywhere».

The mobile nature of the system is not the GATR ball’s only advantage. The system also provides a larger bandwidth capacity, compared to comparable older systems. With more bandwidth, operators can send more data.

In January, signal Soldiers from the 369th SB and other units were trained on the technology, receiving a combination of classroom learning on topics like the electromagnetic spectrum and signal polarization, and hands-on instruction on assembling and disassembling the system.

Sergeant Moises Orta-Castillo, a multichannel transmission systems operator/maintainer for the 369th SB, called the system simple to use and praised its capabilities. «The GATR Ball is capable of more data transfer in a smaller package compared to the traditional satellite systems», he said.

The availability of an advanced, highly mobile, easy-to-use communication system like the GATR ball allows sustainment units to rapidly deploy forces to new locations in order to supply supported forward elements.

With effective voice and data communication, commanders can remain in contact with their subordinate elements or units when they are geographically separated from the main command post.

«For the sustainment community, this means that there will only be a small lag time between when supported units become aware of a requirement and when the supporting units can begin satisfying that requirement», said Major John McBride, the signal officer of the 369th SB.

The bottom line, according to McBride, is that the system will help sustainers meet demands sooner than if they were relying on traditional communication assets.

Acceptance testing

Raytheon completed factory acceptance testing of the flight operations system for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). With seven times the light-collecting power of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, this next-generation telescope will gather data and images of dust clouds, stars and galaxies deeper into space.

The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror
The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror

Over 800 requirements were successfully verified on the JWST ground control system during the testing conducted at Raytheon’s Aurora, Colorado, facility, bringing NASA’s next space observatory one step closer to the scheduled 2018 launch.

«The JWST flight operations system is our latest generation of mission management and command and control capabilities for satellite operations», said Matt Gilligan, vice president of Raytheon Navigation and Environmental Solutions. «Our ground control system will download data from space and fly the telescope as it penetrates through cosmic dust to unlock the universe’s secrets like never before».

JWST takes observations in the infrared spectrum to penetrate cosmic dust to reveal the universe’s first galaxies, while observing newly forming planetary systems. JWST is expected to make observations for five years, will carry enough fuel for 10 years, and is designed to withstand impacts of space debris as it orbits far beyond the Earth’s Moon.

Raytheon installed the ground control system for JWST on the campus of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, under contract to the Space Telescope Science Institute.

 

Vital Facts

Proposed Launch Date JWST will be launched in October 2018
Launch Vehicle Ariane 5 ECA
Mission Duration 5 – 10 years
Total payload mass Approximately 6,200 kg/13,669 lbs, including observatory, on-orbit consumables and launch vehicle adaptor
Diameter of primary Mirror ~6.5 m/21.3 feet
Clear aperture of primary Mirror 25 m2/269 square feet
Primary mirror material beryllium coated with gold
Mass of primary mirror 705 kg/1,554 lbs
Mass of a single primary mirror segment 20.1 kg/44.3 lbs for a single beryllium mirror, 39.48 kg/87 lbs for one entire Primary Mirror Segment Assembly (PMSA)
Focal length 131.4 m/431.1 feet
Number of primary mirror segments 18
Optical resolution ~0.1 arc-seconds
Wavelength coverage 0.6 – 28.5 microns
Size of sun shield 21.197 × 14.162 m/69.5 × 46.5 feet
Orbit 1.5 million km from Earth orbiting the second Lagrange point
Operating Temperature under 50 K/-370 °F
Gold coating Thickness of gold coating = 100 × 10-9 meters (1000 angstroms). Surface area = 25 m2. Using these numbers plus the density of gold at room temperature (19.3 g/cm3), the coating is calculated to use 48.25 g of gold, about equal to a golf ball (A golf ball has a mass of 45.9 grams)

 

Orion programme

Mid-January 2017 Airbus Defence and Space delivered to NASA a propulsion test module for the Orion programme. The Propulsion Qualification Test Model (PQM) will be used to check that the Orion European Service Module (ESM) spacecraft’s propulsion subsystem functions correctly.

Airbus Defence and Space delivers propulsion test module for the Orion programme to NASA
Airbus Defence and Space delivers propulsion test module for the Orion programme to NASA

On behalf of the European Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor for the ESM, a key element of NASA’s next generation Orion spacecraft.

Although the PQM will never see space, this is an important step in the development of the Orion programme. Complex systems for human spaceflight must first be tested and qualified on Earth before being used as flight hardware in space. The engineers want to determine how the system behaves in different environments, to ensure that it functions properly.

The test module is travelling via Bremerhaven and Houston/USA to its final destination at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) near Las Cruces in New Mexico/USA. Arrival is expected mid-February. The tests will take place later in the year at WSTF for the qualification of Orion ESM’s propulsion subsystem.

Deploying to Europe

A fleet of 20 AH-64 Apache aircraft from the 1st Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, 1st Armored Division in Fort Bliss, Texas landed at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) last week to prepare for their February deployment to Europe.

This AH-64 Apache with the 1-501st is one month out from its European deployment. It waits with other AH-64 Apaches along the Corpus Christi Army Depot flight line prior to getting loaded on a ship for its transatlantic voyage (Photo Credit: Ms. Kiana W Allen (AMC))
This AH-64 Apache with the 1-501st is one month out from its European deployment. It waits with other AH-64 Apaches along the Corpus Christi Army Depot flight line prior to getting loaded on a ship for its transatlantic voyage (Photo Credit: Ms. Kiana W Allen (AMC))

The 1-501st, also known as the Iron Dragon Battalion, will deploy this February for a nine-month rotation in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. «We’re moving aircraft to Corpus Christi to put them on a ship to deploy to Europe», said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Crotzer, 1-501st commander.

«Supporting units like this sends a clear message to the rest of the Army that CCAD is willing to aid whenever we can to support the Warfighter and the overall mission», said Major Nathan Patrick, the depot commander’s executive officer.

Major Patrick handles military-aviation-related matters at the Depot, including coordination with other military entities. He worked out the details of the 1-501st arrival and parking plan along the sea wall, even including a maintenance bay for their use, to ensure the 1-501st a smooth and effortless transition to the Port of Corpus Christi.

Though CCAD was ready and set to assist the deployment, this depot is not a normal pit stop for active battalions. Through the Army Working Capital Fund, CCAD operates as an industrial facility specializing in helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul under the US Aviation and Missile Command. The Depot is renowned for its helicopter reset and modernization capabilities, prolonging the life-cycle of some of Army’s most-trusted rotary wing aircraft.

«It will take several days to load the aircraft on the ship across town at the Port of Corpus Christi», said CW3 David Staruch, of the 1-501st. «We can only load a few Apaches at a time and have to remove the rotor blades and prep them for travel. There’s no heliport. It’s just a big massive ship».

The original plan was for the 1-501st to ferry aircraft to the Port of Corpus Christi over the course of three days. The Port of Corpus Christi is one of the few ports in the Gulf of Mexico that can sustain a boat large enough to carry 20 helicopters safely across the Atlantic.

As luck, would have it, high winds delayed the 1-501st move to the Port by a day, but it did little to slow down the Iron Dragon Battalion. Even with the loss of a day, the 1-501st was able to load all aircraft within the original three-day timeframe.

Through the cooperative efforts of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Chief of Naval Air Training and CCAD, the 1-501st and their helicopters safely assembled at CCAD and continued to the port safely, demonstrating the synergy it takes to put global readiness and regional responsiveness in action.

«It’s real easy working with the folks at CCAD. And the Navy and flight test folks have been fantastic. They’ve been helping us every day», said Lieutenant Colonel Crotzer.

According to Fort Bliss’s January tenth press release, approximately 400 Soldiers and 24 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the 1-501st will augment the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, out of Fort Drum, New York, which is the first aviation brigade to support OAR under the Regionally Aligned Force concept.

These Soldiers will support aviation operations throughout Europe to improve interoperability and strengthen relationships with Allies and partner nations. «We’ll get great training with the forces and get them comfortable working with us», said Lieutenant Colonel Crotzer.

The AH-64 Apache is the Army’s attack aviation asset used for close combat attack. «We train with the Apache all the time and with our ground units to gain proficiency», said Staruch. «We feel ready for the task at hand».

The battalion trained hard for the past year at the National Training Center and through other standard exercises. «Now we are going to Europe to train with the Allied Nations to do the same with them», he said.

This training deployment will not only enhance US and European relations, it will add readiness to the US Army aviation’s attack reconnaissance battalion.

The Attack Reconnaissance Battalion self-deploys to any contingency area to conduct operations. On order, it will conduct military operations that will engage and destroy an enemy or peacefully perform missions that ensure regional stability in the area of operations.

The nine-month deployment to Europe is a first for this battalion who are relying on this training to gain the familiarity with some of the field conditions they may face when they are called to support their next mission.

«We exist to support the Warfighter», Staruch said of the battalion. They provide cover for ground combatants – the guys on the ground – to achieve their mission.

«We’re looking forward to this exceptional opportunity to work with US Army Europe, our Allies and partners», said Lieutenant Colonel Crotzer.

Twenty AH-64 Apache helicopters with the 1-501st waited at the Corpus Christi Army Depot before they could get loaded onboard a large vessel that could take them to Europe for Operation Atlantic Resolve (Photo Credit: Ms. Kiana W Allen (AMC))
Twenty AH-64 Apache helicopters with the 1-501st waited at the Corpus Christi Army Depot before they could get loaded onboard a large vessel that could take them to Europe for Operation Atlantic Resolve (Photo Credit: Ms. Kiana W Allen (AMC))

 

Technical Specifications

Length 58.17 feet/17.73 m
Height 15.24 feet/4.64 m
Wing Span 17.15 feet/5.227 m
Primary Mission Gross Weight 15,075 lbs/6,838 kg
Vertical Rate of Climb More than 2,000 feet/610 m per minute
Maximum Rate of Climb More than 2,800 feet/853 m per minute
Maximum Level Flight Speed More than 150 knots/172.6 mph/279 km/h

 

Dark Energy Hunter

Lockheed Martin is helping NASA begin the hunt for dark energy, a mysterious force powering the universe’s accelerating expansion. An instrument assembly the company is developing, if selected by NASA for production, will be the core of the primary scientific instrument aboard the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), whose mission aims to uncover hundreds of millions more galaxies and reveal the physics that shapes them.

WFIRST’s powerful optics will detect mysterious energy causing the universe to expand. Lockheed Martin is working on a study for the Wide-Field Optical-Mechanical Assembly, leveraging work on other deep space telescopes (Image credit: NASA/WFIRST)
WFIRST’s powerful optics will detect mysterious energy causing the universe to expand. Lockheed Martin is working on a study for the Wide-Field Optical-Mechanical Assembly, leveraging work on other deep space telescopes (Image credit: NASA/WFIRST)

Scientists and engineers recently began work developing the Wide-Field Optical-Mechanical Assembly (WOMA) for WFIRST, NASA’s newest astrophysics telescope program. WOMA comprises the major portion of scientific components on one of two instruments on the telescope. NASA chose Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto to advance from an earlier study into the formulation phase. WOMA uses similar approaches to the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which the ATC built as the primary optical instrument for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

«Lockheed Martin scientists achieved groundbreaking results with NIRCam’s precision and sensitivity», said Jeff Vanden Beukel, WOMA program manager at Lockheed Martin. «There’s no time to lose as we support a fast-paced schedule, and our experience with NIRCam’s precision optics positions our WOMA design to be capable, producible and on budget».

Scientists and engineers are collaborating to design optical systems, mechanisms, structure, electronics and thermal control components. Similar to NIRCam, the Wide-Field Instrument on WFIRST will be a powerful optical payload. However, WFIRST will have a massive focal plane array, 200 times larger than NIRCam, to capture what some liken to panoramic images of the star field.

In addition to dark energy research, WOMA will also use microlensing to complete the census of known exoplanets. Microlensing takes advantage of brief distortions in space to reveal new planets around distant stars, and WFIRST’s wide field of view will allow scientists to monitor 200 million stars every 15 minutes for more than a year. When NASA launches WFIRST, it will work in concert with other observatories to jointly research new places and forces in our universe.

NASA plans to select a winning design next year for production, and WFIRST is expected to launch in the mid-2020s.

50th P-8A Poseidon

The U.S. Navy accepted its 50th P-8A Poseidon (P-8A) aircraft at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida on January 5, 2017. The Navy’s Poseidon is replacing the legacy P-3 Orion and will improve an operator’s ability to efficiently conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The P-8A program of record calls for a total requirement for 117 of the 737-based anti-submarine warfare jets.

Navy partnership hits milestone, 50th P-8A delivered
Navy partnership hits milestone, 50th P-8A delivered

«I’d like to formally thank the team, including PMA-290, Boeing and our entire P-8A industry team, as we deliver the 50th P-8A Poseidon early and under budget», said Captain Tony Rossi, the Navy’s program manager for Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft. «This milestone demonstrates outstanding work ethic, professionalism and dedication to the fleet».

«The P-8A is special», added Rossi. «This is the first time a Navy combat aircraft was built from the ground up on a commercial production line. We’ve leveraged commercial expertise and experience, and a highly reliable airframe, the 737, which has reduced production time and overall production costs». Since the initial contract award, the program has reduced P-8 costs by more than 30 percent and has saved the U.S. Navy more than $2.1 Billion.

«Together, we and our industry partners are transforming today’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force for the evolving threats and diverse mission requirements», he said. «This replacement for the P-3C builds on lessons-learned, while enhancing those capabilities with unique features, such as an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret and increased acoustic processing capability with 64 passive sonobuoys, 32 multistatic sonobuoys and concurrent passive and active processing».

The fleet’s transformation from the legacy P-3C to the P-8A is expected to be completed by Fiscal Year 2019.

As of April 2016, all six active and one fleet replacement squadron at NAS Jacksonville have completed their fleet transition training from the P-3C to the P-8A and the first west coast P-8A squadron, VP-4, has relocated its home port from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. All squadrons will complete transition training by Fiscal Year 2019.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs/12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs/85,820 kg

 

New Aerial Refueling

Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the first flight of an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with Aerial Refueling (AR). Under a 2013 Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) contract award, Northrop Grumman designed, developed, manufactured, and tested several sub-system upgrades necessary to accommodate an aerial refueling capability.

The first U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling (Photo credit: John Germana, Northrop Grumman)
The first U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling (Photo credit: John Germana, Northrop Grumman)

«The Northrop Grumman aerial refueling team continues to put outstanding effort into bringing this much-needed capability to the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and our warfighters who rely on it», said Captain Keith Hash, program manager, E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231).

The aerial refueling capability will allow the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to provide longer on-station times at greater ranges, extending its mission time to better support the warfighter.

The upgrades installed to support aerial refueling include probe and associated piping, electrical and lighting upgrades, and long endurance seats that will enhance field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions.

«First flight is an exciting day in the journey from concept to an aerial refueling equipped E-2D», said Jane Bishop, vice president, E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman. «This takes the E-2D to another level, which will bring more combat persistence to the U.S. and our allies».

The aerial refueling program will modify three aircraft for testing planned through 2018. Production cut-in and retrofit plans are scheduled to begin in 2018.

The first U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling (Photo credit: John Germana, Northrop Grumman)
The first U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling (Photo credit: John Germana, Northrop Grumman)

 

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a game changer in how the Navy will conduct battle management command and control. By serving as the «digital quarterback» to sweep ahead of strike, manage the mission, and keep our net-centric carrier battle groups out of harms way, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the key to advancing the mission, no matter what it may be. The E-2D gives the warfighter expanded battlespace awareness, especially in the area of information operations delivering battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system.

 

Hardware with system characteristics that provides:

  • Substantial target processing capacity (>3,000 reports per second)
  • Three highly automated and common operator stations
  • High-capacity, flat-panel color high-resolution displays
  • Extensive video type selection (radar and identification friend/foe)
  • HF/VHF/UHF and satellite communications systems
  • Extensive data link capabilities
  • Inertial navigational system and global positioning system navigation and in-flight alignment
  • Integrated and centralized diagnostic system
  • Glass Cockpit allows software reconfigurable flight/mission displays
  • Cockpit – 4th tactical operator
  • Open architecture ensures rapid technology upgrades and customized configuration options
The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, airborne battle management and command and control functions for the Carrier Strike Group and Joint Force Commander
The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, airborne battle management and command and control functions for the Carrier Strike Group and Joint Force Commander

 

General Characteristics

Wingspan 80 feet 7 inch/24.56 m
Width, wings folded 29 feet 4 inch/8.94 m
Length overall 57 feet 8.75 inch/17.60 m
Height overall 18 feet 3.75 inch/5.58 m
Diameter of rotodome 24 feet/7.32 m
Weight empty 43,068 lbs/19,536 kg
Internal fuel 12,400 lbs/5,624 kg
Takeoff gross weight 57,500 lbs/26,083 kg
Maximum level speed 350 knots/403 mph/648 km/h
Maximum cruise speed 325 knots/374 mph/602 km/h
Cruise speed 256 knots/295 mph/474 km/h
Approach speed 108 knots/124 mph/200 km/h
Service ceiling 34,700 feet/10,576 m
Minimum takeoff distance 1,346 feet/410 m ground roll
Minimum landing distance 1,764 feet/537 m ground roll
Ferry range 1,462 NM/1,683 miles/2,708 km
Crew Members 5
Power Plant 2 × Rolls-Royce T56-A-427A, rated at 5,100 eshp each
Unrefueled >6 hours
In-flight refueling 12 hours

 

Lion maiden flight

8 December 2016, the NH90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter took off on its on-schedule maiden flight at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland; Ralph Herzog, Director in the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, Chief of the German Navy welcomed this important milestone in the programme.

German Navy NH90 Sea Lion performs maiden flight
German Navy NH90 Sea Lion performs maiden flight

«We are proud to be delivering this state-of-the-art naval helicopter to the German Armed Forces on time», said Wolfgang Schoder. «This new generation of NH90 naval helicopters, the Sea Lion, has benefited from experience gathered by other countries who have been using it». The NH90 has an increased number of sensors and improved navigation and communications equipment, which means that this military helicopter will also be able to operate in civil air space. The military friend/foe identification has also been updated to the latest standards.

For the BAAINBw in Koblenz, the Sea Lion is also a special project: «We need to keep to a tight schedule if we are to replace the Sea King in time. This requires all those participating in the project to coordinate quickly and efficiently to achieve this», explained Ralph Herzog. «By using an existing NH90 model as the basis for the Sea Lion and adding the required additional functionalities to it, we have been able to significantly reduce the delivery process. This model is also configured not only to be an adequate replacement for the Sea King but is designed so that it can be adapted to future roles».

«The Navy is looking forward, as the first customer, to be receiving the NH90 Sea Lion on time by the end of 2019», said Vice Admiral Andreas Krause. «We are now expecting a successful test phase». Meanwhile, the Navy is preparing intensively for the acceptance of the helicopters with technical and flight personnel already training. Further measures have commenced at their future home, the Nordholz naval air base. Infrastructural changes and new buildings are necessary.

Deliveries of NH90 Sea Lions to the Navy will start at the end of 2019. When deployed, it will take on a range of roles including search and rescue (SAR) missions, maritime reconnaissance, special forces missions as well as personnel and materiel transportation tasks. The German Armed Forces have ordered 18 of these helicopters altogether, with the last due to go into service in 2022. The second NH90 Sea Lion awaiting qualification testing is currently at the final assembly stage and series production at Donauwörth will commence in the summer of 2017.

In addition to its land-based use in SAR missions, the NH90 Sea Lion is also intended to operate on Type 702 (Berlin class) combat support ships. Thanks to its multi-role capability and future proofing, the Sea Lion will not merely replace the Bundeswehr’s Sea King Mk41 fleet but significantly enhance the Navy’s operational capabilities. The electronic fly-by-wire flight controls of the NH90 Sea Lion reduce the crew’s workload. Other benefits of this control system are its high precision and ease of use, which particularly come to the fore in over-water hovering, even in poor weather conditions.

The NH90 Sea Lion shell is manufactured from advanced, high-strength composite materials. This offers optimum protection for the crew thanks to its excellent crash behaviour.

Five nations are already using the naval NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter). They have already completed more than 30,000 flying hours with the 69 helicopters delivered so far: in humanitarian and SAR and military missions on land and on board naval vessels. The German NH90 Sea Lion programme has greatly benefited from the experience gained from these operations. Altogether 129 NH90 NFH helicopters have been ordered; the total for all NH90 models comes to 515. The whole NH90 fleet comprising 296 helicopters delivered so far has already completed over 120,000 flying hours.

 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

Overall dimensions (rotors turning)
Length 64.18 feet/19.56 m
Width 53.48 feet/16.30 m
Height 17.42 feet/5.31 m
Weights
Maximum Gross Weight 23,369 lbs/10,600 kg
Alternate Gross Weight 24,250 lbs/11,000 kg
Empty Weight 14,109 lbs/6,400 kg
Useful Load 9,260 lbs/4,200 kg
Cargo Capacity
Cargo Hook 8,818 lbs/4,000 kg
Single or dual Rescue Hoist 595 lbs/270 kg
Rescue Hoist on ground 880 lbs/400 kg
Fuel Capacity
7-Cell Internal System 4,486 lbs/2,035 kg
Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 882 lbs/400 kg
External Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 644 lbs/292 kg or 1,102 lbs/500 kg
Internal Dimensions
Width 6.56 feet/2.00 m
Length 15.75 feet/4.80 m
Height 5.18 feet/1.58 m
Volume 536.78 feet³/15.20 m³
Sliding doors opening 5.25 × 4.92 feet/1.60 × 1.50 m
Rear ramp opening 5.84 × 5.18 feet/1.78 × 1.58 m
NH90 General Performance (Basic Aircraft)
Maximum Cruise Speed* 162 knots/186 mph/300 km/h
Economical Cruise Speed* 140 knots/161 mph/260 km/h
Maximum Rate Of Climb* 2,200 feet/min/11.2 m/sec
One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Rate Of Climb 2 min Rating* 850 feet/min/4.3 m/sec
OEI Rate Of Climb Continuous Rating at 6,560 feet/2,000 m* 300 feet/min/1.5 m/sec
Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect (IGE)* 10,500 feet/3,200 m
Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect (OGE)* 8,530 feet/2,600 m
Maximum Range 530 NM/610 miles/982 km
Maximum Range with 5,511.5 lbs/2,500 kg payload 486 NM/559 miles/900 km
Maximum Endurance 5 h
Ferry Range (with Internal Aux Fuel Tanks) 864 NM/994 miles/1,600 km

* At 22,046 lbs/10,000 kg