September 4, 2017, Bengaluru, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed one more contract for supply of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH). The contract is for 40 ALH to the Indian Army and one to the Indian Navy (IN).
«The latest order reflects the trust on HAL’s capabilities and gives an impetus to make-in-India campaign. It reposes faith of Indian Defence forces in indigenous ALH which has been serving them with distinction for a long time», says Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD-HAL.
The contracts for supply of 41 ALHs amounting around Rs 6100 crores will be executed in a period of 60 months. The contract was signed between MoD and HAL in New Delhi recently. Officials from MoD, Indian Army, Indian Navy and HAL were present during the event.
In March this year HAL had signed a contract for supply of 32 ALH to boost the maritime security capabilities of the Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, has awarded Lockheed Martin a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 1 contract to build two production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. This contract follows the April 4, 2017, Milestone C decision by the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) approving LRIP production.
«Gaining the U.S. Marine Corps approval to enter into production and the award of the first contract are milestones made possible by the tremendous achievements of the joint Sikorsky, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and U.S. Marine Corps team», said Dr. Mike Torok, vice president, CH-53K programs. «This is what we have been striving for – to deliver this amazing capability to the U.S. Marine Corps».
Under the $303,974,406 million contract, Sikorsky will deliver two production aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps in 2020 along with spares and logistical support. Aircraft assembly will take place at Sikorsky’s headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut.
«We have just successfully launched the production of the most powerful helicopter our nation has ever designed. This incredible capability will revolutionize the way our nation conducts business in the battlespace by ensuring a substantial increase in logistical through put into that battlespace. I could not be prouder of our government-contractor team for making this happen», said Col Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command’s Heavy Lift Helicopters program, PMA-261.
The CH-53K King Stallion provides unmatched capability with three times the lift capability of its predecessor, the CH-53E Super Stallion. The helicopter cabin, a full foot wider, gives increased payload capacity to internally load 463L cargo pallets, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) or a European Fenneck armored personnel carrier while still leaving the troop seats installed. The CH-53K’s external hook system provides the capability to lift three independent external loads simultaneously. These true heavy lift internal and external cargo improvements give the Marine Corps tremendous mission flexibility and efficiency in delivering combat power in support of the Marine Air Ground Task Force or in delivering humanitarian assistance or disaster relief to those in need.
The CH-53K King Stallion also brings enhanced safety features for the warfighter. Full authority fly-by-wire flight controls and mission management reduce pilot workload enabling the crew to focus on mission execution. Features include advanced stability augmentation, flight control modes that include attitude command-velocity hold, automated approach to a stabilized hover, position hold and precision tasks in degraded visual environments, and tactile cueing. These features permit the pilot to focus confidently on the mission at hand while operating in degraded environments.
The CH-53K’s internal health monitoring systems with fault detection/fault isolation, coupled with a digital aviation logistics maintenance system that interfaces with the Fleet Common Operating Environment for fleet management, provides improved combat readiness for the Marine Corps.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K King Stallion aircraft. The U.S. Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser underwent a captive carry test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center here August 30. The test was part of the spacecraft’s Phase Two flight test efforts to advance the orbiter closer to space flight, according to an SNC press release.
A Columbia Helicopters Model 234-UT Chinook helicopter carried the Dream Chaser over Edwards for about an hour. The goal was to reach an altitude and flight conditions the spacecraft would experience before being released on a free flight test, said company officials.
The Dream Chaser was delivered to Armstrong January 25 to undergo several months of testing at the center in preparation for its upcoming approach and landing flight on one of Edwards Air Force Base’s (AFB) runways.
The test series is part of a developmental space act agreement SNC has with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The test campaign will help SNC validate the aerodynamic properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream Chaser, according to NASA.
Lee Archambault, SNC director of flight operations for the Dream Chaser program, said in a press release, «We are very pleased with the results from the captive carry test and everything we have seen points to a successful test with useful data for the next round of testing».
The August 30 captive carry test is one of two planned at Edwards for this year. The test obtained data and evaluated both individual and overall system performance, said the release. If the second captive carry test is a success, it will clear the way for a free-flight test.
The Dream Chaser is also being prepared to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract beginning in 2019. The data that SNC gathers from this test campaign will help influence and inform the final design of the cargo Dream Chaser, which will fly at least six cargo delivery missions to and from the space station by 2024, according to NASA.
A Raytheon-built Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea in its final seconds of flight, after being fired from the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53).
The SM-6 missile can perform anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and – now – even more advanced ballistic missile defense at sea.
«Earlier this year, our customer requested an enhanced capability to deal with a sophisticated medium-range ballistic missile threat», said Mike Campisi, Raytheon’s SM-6 senior program director. «We did all this – the analysis, coding and testing – in seven months; a process that normally takes one to two years».
This was the third time that the SM-6 missile successfully engaged a ballistic missile target in its terminal phase. It was first tested in a successful flight test mission in August 2015, and then again in late 2016.
Deployed on U.S. Navy ships, SM-6 delivers a proven over-the-horizon offensive and defensive capability by leveraging the time-tested Standard Missile airframe and propulsion system. It’s the only missile that supports anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and sea-based terminal ballistic missile defense in one solution – and it’s enabling the U.S. and its allies to cost-effectively increase the offensive might of surface forces. Raytheon has delivered more than 330 SM-6 missiles with continuing production.
The U.S. Department of Defense has approved the sale of SM-6 to several allied nations.
Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs (DAC), declared the launch of production of HAL designed 5.8-ton category Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and dedicated the HAL’s role changer design upgrade program of Hawk-I to the nation in HAL premises here, in Bengaluru, on August 26. Senior officials from Ministry of Defence, Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Jaitely hailed HAL’s confidence in bringing Hawk-I and LCH indigenously. He said Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) work culture and performance have highest standards of professionalism. «We are moving in the right direction in evolving ourselves into a major manufacturing hub. In this context today’s experience has been encouraging», he said.
HAL’s Rotary Wing R&D Centre designed the LCH whereas Mission & Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) designed the Hawk-I in association with the Aircraft Division.
The basic version of LCH has been cleared by Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC). The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of 15 LCH from HAL under Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) category. Accordingly, the production is launched on August 26.
HAL designed the twin engine Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) of 5.8-ton class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/ weapon system operator. The helicopter has indigenous state of the art technologies like integrated dynamic system, bearing less Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, Armour Protection and stealth features from visual, aural, radar and InfraRed (IR) signatures. The helicopter is equipped with 20-mm Turret gun, 70-mm Rocket, Air to Air Missile, Electro-Optical Pod (EO-Pod) and Helmet pointing system. The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes. The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter.
HAL produced its 100th Hawk jet trainer aircraft with designation as Hawk-I; (Hawk-India). HAL took up the indigenous role change development program to convert the jet trainer into a Combat-Ready platform. The aircraft is upgraded with indigenously designed avionics hardware, software and system architecture enhancing operational role from a trainer aircraft into a Combat-ready platform with improved quality and depth of training by Large Force Engagement (LFE) tactics through Electronic Virtual Training System (EVTS). Hawk-I is capable of delivering precision Munitions including Air to Ground and close combat weapons, self defence capabilities through Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, digital map generator and operational reliability through new Dual Hot stand-by Mission Computer Avionics architecture supported by indigenous high accuracy and high-altitude Radio Altimeter, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) MKXII, Data Transfer system, CounterMeasure Dispensing System (CMDS) and Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). The aircraft was flown during 2017 Aero India at Bangalore with lot of appreciation from users. The integration of indigenous Head-Up display (HUD), Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) based Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Anti Airfield Missile is in advance stage.
Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta, Secretary (Defence Production), outlined the contributions made by Defence PSUS. Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL in his welcome address said maintaining its excellent track record HAL today has come-up with two new products that would strengthen India’s defence services.
On August 16th General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) flew a MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) from Laguna Airfield at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, through National Airspace, to its Gray Butte Flight Operations facility near Palmdale, California. The MQ-9B is a STANAG 4671 (NATO airworthiness standard for Unmanned Aircraft Systems)-compliant version of the Predator B product line. The 275-mile/443-km trip lasted approximately one hour, 45 minutes and required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly through various classes of non-restricted airspace.
«This flight is another milestone in our progression towards delivering an RPA system that meets NATO airworthiness requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)», said Linden Blue, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), GA-ASI. «MQ-9B SkyGuardian will be the first RPA system of its kind with a design-assurance level compliant with international type-certification standards, and can therefore be integrated more easily than legacy RPAs into civil airspace operations around the world».
A weaponized variant of the system is being acquired by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) under the MQ-9B PROTECTOR program. A maritime patrol variant, SeaGuardian, is designed to support open-ocean and littoral surface surveillance. All variants are designed to fly in excess of 35 hours with airspeeds up to 210 knots/242 mph/389 km/h, and to reach altitudes of more than 40,000 feet/12,192 m.
Development of MQ-9B began in 2012 as a company-funded effort. Program highlights include first flight in November 2016 and an endurance flight in May 2017 of 48.2 hours.
Qualification testing for type-certification will continue over the next two years, with deliveries to the RAF expected to begin early next decade.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the NASA’s Tracking Data and Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 August 18 at 8:29 a.m. EDT. The TDRS-M is the third and final mission in the series of these third-generation space communication satellites to orbit, as part of the follow-on fleet being developed to replenish NASA’s space Network.
«ULA uses the TDRS system as a primary means of receiving and distributing launch vehicle telemetry data during every flight. In fact, the TDRS-K and TDRS-L spacecraft, launched by ULA in 2013 and 2014 tracked today’s launch», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. «We are absolutely honored to have delivered this core NASA capability and critical national resource for our country».
All six of the newest TDRS satellites have been delivered to orbit on Atlas V vehicles.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 13-foot/4-meter extended payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine. This is ULA’s 5th launch in 2017 and the 120th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
«Congratulations to our entire ULA team and mission partners at NASA on another successful launch that will enable so many to explore and operate in space», said Maginnis.
The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) is a space-based communication system used to provide tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services. Microwave communications equipment and gimbaled antennae are the primary payload of each TDRS. The system is capable of providing near continuous high-bandwidth telecommunications services for Low Earth orbiting spacecraft and expendable launch vehicles including the International Space Station (ISS).
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 115 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.
An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41 with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M). The addition of TDRS-M to the Space Network (SN) provides the ability to support space communication for an additional 15 years
Astro Aerospace, a Northrop Grumman Corporation business, completed a successful Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the nine-meter L-band reflectors for two Airbus Inmarsat-6 series satellites.
The success of the PDR is a significant milestone for the Inmarsat-6 program. With the preliminary design of the L-band reflectors now set, Astro Aerospace will continue maturing the design in preparation for the Critical Design Review (CDR) later this year.
«We are proud to support Airbus Defence and Space and the Inmarsat program», said John A. Alvarez, general manager, Astro Aerospace. «Astro Aerospace’s unique AstroMesh technology is particularly well suited for Inmarsat-6’s L-band capacity, which is significantly greater than the capacity of previous satellites and capable of supporting a new generation of more advanced L-band services. AstroMesh deployable mesh reflectors are made of the lightest and stiffest materials available, making them well suited for such missions. I also want to thank the combined Astro-Airbus-Inmarsat team that worked tirelessly to ensure a successful PDR».
Astro Aerospace (www.northropgrumman.com/astro) is the leading pioneer of space deployable technology and structures that have enabled critical complex missions to Earth’s orbit, Mars and beyond. Astro Aerospace’s hardware is characterized by its light weight structural design and robust deployment kinematics. Since 1958, Astro Aerospace has successfully deployed technology on hundreds of space flights with a 100 percent success rate, a testament to Northrop Grumman’s commitment to reliability, quality and affordability.
The five sunshield layers responsible for protecting the optics and instruments of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope are now fully installed. Northrop Grumman Corporation, which designed the Webb telescope’s optics, spacecraft bus, and sunshield for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, integrated the final flight layers into the sunshield subsystem.
Designed by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, the sunshield layers work together to reduce the temperatures between the hot and cold sides of the observatory by approximately 570 degrees Fahrenheit/299 degrees Celsius. Each successive layer of the sunshield, which is made of Kapton, is cooler than the one below.
«This is a huge milestone for the Webb telescope as we prepare for launch», said Jim Flynn, Webb sunshield manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «The groundbreaking tennis-court sized sunshield will protect the optics from heat making it possible to gather images of the formation of stars and galaxies more than 13.5 billion years ago».
«All five sunshield membranes have been installed and will be folded over the next few weeks», said Paul Geithner, deputy project manager – technical for the Webb telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The Webb telescope’s sunshield will prevent the background heat from the Sun, Earth and Moon from interfering with the telescope’s infrared sensors. The five sunshield membrane layers that were manufactured by the NeXolve Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama, are each as thin as a human hair. The sunshield, along with the rest of the spacecraft, will fold origami-style into an Ariane 5 rocket.
The Webb telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Webb Telescope will observe distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies formed and see unexplored planets around distant stars. The Webb Telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
On August 3, Lockheed Martin revealed the first images from an experimental, ultra-thin optical instrument, showing it could be possible to shrink space telescopes to a sliver of the size of today’s systems while maintaining equivalent resolution.
Weighing 90 percent less than a typical telescope, the Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-Optical Reconnaissance (SPIDER) opens a path for extremely lightweight optical instruments, allowing for more hosted payloads or smaller spacecraft. More broadly, the sensor technology has applications for aircraft and other vehicles – anywhere that depends on small optical sensors. The future could see UAVs with imagers laid flat underneath their wings, and cars could have imaging sensors that are flush against their grills.
The SPIDER project has roots in research funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Lockheed Martin independently completed this phase of research at its Advanced Technology Center (ATC).
«This is generation-after-next capability we’re building from the ground up», said Scott Fouse, ATC vice president. «Our goal is to replicate the same performance of a space telescope in an instrument that is about an inch thick. That’s never been done before. We’re on our way to make space imaging a low-cost capability so our customers can see more, explore more and learn more».
The system uses tiny lenses to feed optical data divided and recombined in a Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC), which was originally designed for telecommunications at the University of California, Davis. Using these chips in a different way, Lockheed Martin researchers unlocked new potential for ultra-thin telescopes using a technique called interferometric imaging.
The tests involved a PIC aligned to a series of 30 lenses, each smaller than a millimeter across. An optical system simulated the distance from space to the ground, where scenes were illuminated and rotated. The first image included a standard bar test pattern, and the second image showed the overhead view of a complex rail yard.
The lenses and PIC comprise one section of a full instrument to be assembled in the next project phase. The team plans to increase the resolution and field of view in future phases.
The initial findings from this project were presented today at the Pacific Rim Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO-Pacific Rim) in Singapore.