As Thick as a Pen Cap

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.

SPIDER Experiments Infographic
SPIDER Experiments Infographic

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.

SPIDER’s first results shown here, with targets of two images on the left of each pair and the image reconstructions using SPIDER on the right (in millimeters). The first test used a standard optical test pattern, and the second test used an aerial photo of a train yard. The team continues to increase the system’s resolution from these first, baseline images
SPIDER’s first results shown here, with targets of two images on the left of each pair and the image reconstructions using SPIDER on the right (in millimeters). The first test used a standard optical test pattern, and the second test used an aerial photo of a train yard. The team continues to increase the system’s resolution from these first, baseline images

Ballistic Missile Test

The U.S. Navy successfully conducted another Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) flight test with the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) off the west coast of Hawaii, July 27.

AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar array at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)
AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar array at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)

At 2:05 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time (8:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR searched for, detected and maintained track on the target throughout its trajectory. The flight test, designated Vigilant Titan, is the second in a series of ballistic missile defense flight tests for the AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR.

«We are continuing to stress this radar by increasing the range and complexity of the targets and demonstrating the awesome capability and versatility of the Navy’s next generation Integrated Air and Missile Defense radar». said Navy Captain Seiko Okano, major program manager for Above Water Sensors, Program Executive Office (PEO) Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS). «AN/SPY-6 is the nation’s most advanced radar and will be the cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s surface combatants for many decades».

Based on preliminary data, the test successfully met its primary objectives against a complex Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) target. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The culmination of over a decade of Navy investment in advanced radar technology, AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR is being designed for the DDG-51 Flight III destroyer to provide the U.S. Navy with state-of-the-art technology for integrated air and missile defense.

PEO IWS, an affiliated PEO of the Naval Sea Systems Command, manages surface ship and submarine combat technologies and systems and coordinates Navy enterprise solutions across ship platforms.

The Air and Missile Defense Radar is the U.S. Navy’s next generation integrated air and missile defense radar. It enhances ships’ abilities to detect air, surface and ballistic missile targets

Presidential Helicopter

On August 3, Lockheed Martin announced the first flight of a VH-92A configured test aircraft in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. The July 28 flight signals the start of the 250-hour flight test program, which will take place at Lockheed Martin facilities in Owego, New York.

On July 28, the VH-92A configured test aircraft completed its first flight in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program
On July 28, the VH-92A configured test aircraft completed its first flight in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program

The aircraft achieved its first flight, and later that same day completed a second flight at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. Total flight time for the two sorties was one hour and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield.

«This first flight of the VH-92A configured test aircraft is an important milestone for the program», said Spencer Elani, director VH-92A program at Sikorsky. «Having independently tested the aircraft’s components and subsystems, we are now moving forward to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program».

As the flight test program proceeds, this test aircraft (Engineering Development Model 1, or EDM-1) will be joined by an additional test aircraft (EDM-2) over the course of the 12-month flight test program. EDM-2 is on track for its first flight later this year.

The VH-92A aircraft is based on Sikorsky’s successful and FAA-certified S-92A commercial aircraft, which recently surpassed one million flight hours. The S-92A aircraft, assembled in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is being modified to include integration of government-defined missions systems and an executive interior.

«With this successful first flight on the books, we look forward to completion of Sikorsky’s flight test program, operational testing and production of this aircraft to support the Office of the President of the United States», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air System Command’s Presidential Helicopter’s Program Office.

The U.S. Navy awarded a $1.24 billion fixed-price incentive Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract with production options to Sikorsky on May 7, 2014. The EMD contract will produce a total of six aircraft: two test aircraft and four production aircraft. The production options for the remaining 17 aircraft will be finalized in FY19.

The VH-92A will enter into service in 2020. The VH-92A will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other officials. Sikorsky brings unmatched experience and a proven track record to this mission having flown every U.S. commander-in-chief since President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The VH-92A will continue this legacy for decades to come.

Reliability of the ICBM

A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB), Wyoming, launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a single test reentry vehicle August 2, 2017 at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg AFB, California.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrated the U.S.’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the U.S. and its allies.

The ICBM’s reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles/6,759 km to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

«This operational test launch highlights the commitment and outstanding professionalism of the 90th Missile Wing, the 576th Flight Test Squadron and our mission partners in the 30th Space Wing», said Colonel Dave Kelley, the 576th FLTS commander. «These test launches require the highest-degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force».

F.E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

«I am extremely proud of the operators and maintainers from the 90th Missile Wing. This task force worked flawlessly alongside the absolute professionals from the 576 Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) to make this mission a success», said Lieutenant Colonel Troy Stauter, the Glory Trip 223 Task Force commander. «Promoting the deterrence, assurance and strike capability of the Minuteman III could not be done without the dedication, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women of Air Force Global Strike Command».

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the U.S.’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

 

General characteristics

Primary function Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Contractor Boeing Co.
Power plant Three solid-propellant rocket motors: first stage ATK refurbished M55A1; second stage ATK refurbished SR-19; third stage ATK refurbished SR-73
Technologies chemical systems division thrust first stage: 203,158 pounds/92,151 kg; second stage: 60,793 pounds/27,575 kg; third stage: 35,086 pounds/15,915 kg
Weight 79,432 pounds/36,030 kg
Diameter 5.5 feet/1.67 m
Range 5,218 NM/6,005 miles/9,664 km
Speed approximately Mach 23/15,000 mph/24,000 km/h at burnout
Ceiling 700 miles/1,120 km
Date deployed June 1970, production cessation: December 1978
Inventory 450

 

GT-223GM MMIII Media Release

Enhanced NVG III

In the next 18 months or so, the Army expects to field two new systems to dismounted Soldiers that will allow for more rapid acquisition of targets, even those hidden by darkness, smoke or fog.

An Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III is mounted on a glass skull, and a Family of Weapons Sights-Individual is mounted on an M4 rifle, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The ENVG III, worn on the head, can be paired wirelessly with a FWS-I, which would be mounted on a weapon, to allow Soldiers to see in their eye what the weapon sight is seeing. The Soldier would not need to shoulder the weapon to see through the sight. Both the ENVG III and the FWS-I are slated to be fielded in the next 18 months (Photo Credit: Jalen Brown)
An Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III is mounted on a glass skull, and a Family of Weapons Sights-Individual is mounted on an M4 rifle, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The ENVG III, worn on the head, can be paired wirelessly with a FWS-I, which would be mounted on a weapon, to allow Soldiers to see in their eye what the weapon sight is seeing. The Soldier would not need to shoulder the weapon to see through the sight. Both the ENVG III and the FWS-I are slated to be fielded in the next 18 months (Photo Credit: Jalen Brown)

First out of the gate will be the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III (ENVG III), expected to be fielded sometime between April and June of 2018. Shortly after, the Army hopes to field the Family of Weapons Sights – Individual (FWS-I), between January and March of 2019.

The FWS-I and ENVG III are unique in that the FWS-I, which would be mounted on a Soldier’s weapon, wirelessly transmits its sight picture to the ENVG III, which a Soldier wears on his helmet.

Additionally, the ENVG combines thermal imaging with more common night vision image intensification technology, which is recognizable by the green image it creates.

Under starlight, targets may blend in with the background. But with the thermal capability overlaid on night vision, targets can’t hide in smoke or fog. They «really pop out with that contrast», said Dean Kissinger, an electronics engineer who is currently assigned to Program Product Manger Soldier Maneuver Sensors at Program Executive Office Soldier here.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Douglas, who serves as product manager for Soldier Maneuver Sensors at Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, said the two sensors have benefits beyond helping dismounted Soldiers better visualize targets. By paring the two systems wirelessly – allowing what the weapon-mounted sight is seeing to be beamed directly to the Soldier’s eye –- these systems also help the Soldier acquire a target faster.

 

RAPID TARGET ACQUISITION

«The capability gap that we were tasked with closing by developing this was the rapid target acquisition capability», Douglas said. «We are allowing the Soldier to actually see what is on their weapons sight, saving them time from having to bring the weapon to his eye».

Master Sergeant Lashon Wilson, the senior enlisted advisor for product manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors, explained how the system will work and make it easier for a Soldier to acquire a target.

«This weapon-mounted system talks wirelessly to the smart battery pack that is on the Soldier’s head, that then transmits a signal to the ENVG III, which now displays a reticle onto the Soldier’s optic», Wilson explained. «So now what this does is, while the Soldier is on patrol and he has his ENVG III on and he is looking, he has a greater field of view of what is going on in the battlefield».

Soldiers wearing the ENVG III, which is mounted on their helmet, can choose to see both night-vision imagery and thermal imaging as well in their goggle. But they can also choose to see the image coming off the FWS-I that is mounted on their rifle.

A variety of modes allows Soldiers to see in their goggles only the image from the ENVG III itself, only the image from the FWS-I, or a combination of the two. Using a «picture-in-picture» mode, for instance, the image from their FWS-I is displayed at the bottom right of the image that is coming from the goggle.

In another mode, however, if the FWS-I on the rifle and the ENVG III on the Soldier’s helmet are both pointed in the same direction and seeing essentially the same thing, then the image from the FWS-I can project a reticle into the goggle. The Soldier can see the full image of what his goggle normally sees, but a circle representing the reticle from the FWS-I is overlaid onto that image, letting the Soldier know where his rifle is pointed. What this means is the Soldier doesn’t need to actually shoulder his weapon to acquire a target. That saves time for the Soldier in acquiring that target.

«We are saving him three to five seconds, and increasing their situational awareness on the battlefield», Douglas said.

Additionally, because the reticle is projected onto what the Soldier is already seeing in his goggle – a much wider view of his environment than what he would see if he looked through his rifle scope – he is able to acquire a target while maintaining situational awareness of what else is going on around him.

 

STEEP LEARNING CURVE

At Fort Belvoir, members of the press were allowed to shoot an M-4 rifle that was equipped with the FWS-I, while wearing a helmet equipped with the ENVG III.

Several man-shaped targets were spaced out in the firing lane, each equipped with thermal blankets to simulate body heat. A pair of fog machines simulated battlefield smoke to make it difficult to acquire those targets using only day optics. Using night vision goggles alone, some of the targets could not be seen. But when combined with the thermal imaging capabilities built into the ENVG III and FWS-I, those targets were easily visible.

Using the system proved a bit challenging, however. When looking through the goggle, which was at one point displaying the image transmitted from the rifle-mounted FWS-I, it was hard to tell if it was the helmet that was crooked, the ENVG III that was crooked, or the shooter’s own head that wasn’t on quite straight.

«The gun is tilted», Wilson confirmed. He served as a trainer for members of the press who were allowed to shoot.

Major Kevin Smith, who serves as the assistant product manager for FWS-I, said there is a «steep learning curve», for the system.

«We just got through with the tests with the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado, back in June», he said. «We only spent about 40 hours of in-classroom training. But we also spent about a week on the range or so. That’s where the Soldiers were really starting to get it and understand it and feel it, on the range».

Smith said one such training event was held at Fort Carson, and two were held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

«Once they get comfortable with it, they really love it», Smith said. «One Soldier, a noncommissioned officer who didn’t like it at first, later on during the last test we did, asked me when are we getting this fielded. He said he wanted it now. They want to take them to war and they want to use them».

 

A FAMILY OF SIGHTS

The soon-to-field FWS-I is meant for the M4 and M16 rifles, and can mount on those rifles in front of day sights that have already been bore-sighted, Kissinger said. What this means is that Soldiers can pop the FWS-I onto and off of their rifle without having to remove their day sights first.

The FWS-I will also work with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, and the M136 AT4 Light Anti-Tank Weapon.

Kissinger said the FWS-I actually provides capability to both light and medium weapons. In the past, there had been sights fielded for both types of weapons. Now that FWS-I provides capability to both, he said, there will be less variations in weapons sights, and a smaller logistics trail.

More capability is also coming to this «family» of weapons sights, Douglas said. There will be a crew-served variant and a sniper variant as well. Both are still under development, he said.

Both the FWS-I and the ENVG III are currently in low-rate initial production. The Army hopes to buy 36,000 of the FWS-I, and about 64,000 of the ENVG III, Smith said. He also said that the new gear is targeted squarely at dismounted Soldiers with infantry brigade combat teams and special operations forces.

For now, he said, he expects it will be squad leaders and two team leaders within a squad that might first see the FWS-I.

«This is a day or night capability», Douglas said. «We’re talking about dismounted Soldiers who would use this. For our mounted soldiers, those on the Stryker or Bradleys … they do not operate without their thermal on all the time. So, we are giving the dismounted Soldier the same capability the mounted Soldiers have».

Using the FWS-I and ENVG III, July 27, 2017, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Third Generation Railgun

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that its new 10 Mega Joule (MJ) medium range multi-mission railgun system has completed final assembly and factory acceptance test in preparation for transport to Dugway Proving Ground in Utah to begin testing. The 10 MJ railgun system has been designed and built by GA-EMS to provide multi-mission, multi-domain capability with greater flexibility and a smaller footprint for ship, land and mobile platforms.

Multi-mission Medium Range Railgun Weapon System (MMRRWS)
Multi-mission Medium Range Railgun Weapon System (MMRRWS)

«The 10 MJ railgun system has our third-generation railgun launcher, and includes our fifth-generation pulsed power system and a new mounting system that allows the launcher to elevate and train for better targeting», stated Nick Bucci, vice president for Missile Defense and Space Systems at GA-EMS. «This represents a leap forward in advancing railgun technologies, offering reduced size and weight for the launcher, twice the energy density in a significantly reduced pulsed power footprint, and more capable hypersonic projectiles. We’ll continue to develop and mature these technologies, perform risk reduction, and test under real-world conditions to ultimately deliver a more capable, effective, and cost-efficient solution to counter future threats».

GA-EMS multi-mission medium range railgun weapon system integrates the High Energy Pulsed Power Container (HEPPC), 10 MJ launcher, hypersonic hybrid missile, and fire control technologies. The HEPPC utilizes GA-EMS next generation railgun capacitors and a new approach to packaging and distribution of the energy in a smaller footprint than existing pulsed power solutions. This reduces the number of pulsed power containers required to launch the guided projectiles or hybrid missiles. The HEPPC provides additional capabilities to test GA-EMS hypersonic projectiles, which contain a Guidance Control Unit with guidance, navigation, and control software and a complex control actuation system.

Successful projectile component testing was completed earlier this year, with multiple firings at launch accelerations over 30,000 Gees. The testing also demonstrated a continuous two-way data link between the in-flight projectiles and the ground station over an open range that supports the fire control solution.

GA-EMS performs successful testing of electromagnetic railgun launched hypersonic projectiles

Add Muscle to Chinook

Boeing will build and test three U.S. Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the company’s Philadelphia site.

Boeing will build and test three U.S. Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the company's Philadelphia site (Boeing illustration)
Boeing will build and test three U.S. Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the company’s Philadelphia site (Boeing illustration)

A recent $276 million Army contract will fund those helicopters, which will validate technology advancements that will increase the iconic helicopter’s lifting power.

«The Army’s only heavy-lift helicopter exists to deliver decisive combat power for our ground commanders», said Colonel Greg Fortier, U.S. Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters. «The Cargo family is anxious to build upon Col. Rob Barrie’s efforts to establish this critical program and deliver an adaptive air vehicle. Increasing payload capacity today enhances battlefield agility and prepares the Chinook for even greater performance gains in the future».

An improved drivetrain will transfer greater power from the engines to the all-new, swept-tip Advanced Chinook Rotor Blades, which have been engineered to lift 1,500 additional pounds on their own. The current configuration of six fuel tanks – three on each side – will become two, allowing the aircraft to carry more fuel and shed weight. Additionally, the fuselage’s structure will be strengthened in critical areas to allow the aircraft to carry additional payload.

«This latest upgrade for the Chinook fleet is a tribute to the robustness of its original design and exemplifies its 55-year legacy of technological advancements», said Chuck Dabundo, vice president, Cargo Helicopters and program manager, H-47. «The fact that the U.S. Army continues to use and value this platform and they are intending to continue to upgrade it to keep it flying for decades to come is a testament of the capabilities the Chinook team continues to bring».

Boeing will begin building the test aircraft next year. The test program begins in 2019 and first delivery of the Block II Chinook is expected in 2023. Eventually, the Army will upgrade more than 500 Chinooks to Block II configuration.

Electromagnetic Testing

A Boeing-led team, including U.S. Air Force and Naval Air Systems Command representatives, recently completed KC-46 Pegasus tanker electromagnetic testing.

A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker undergoes testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on the base’s electromagnetic pulse pad. In order to evaluate its ability to operate safely through electromagnetic fields produced by radar, radio towers and other systems, the aircraft received a series of pulses from a large coil mounted overhead. The KC-46 is protected by technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects (Photo credit: NAVAIR photographer)
A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker undergoes testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on the base’s electromagnetic pulse pad. In order to evaluate its ability to operate safely through electromagnetic fields produced by radar, radio towers and other systems, the aircraft received a series of pulses from a large coil mounted overhead. The KC-46 is protected by technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects (Photo credit: NAVAIR photographer)

This testing evaluates the aircraft’s ability to safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems under mission conditions.

«The KC-46 tanker is protected by various hardening and shielding technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects on the aircraft», said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46 vice president and program manager. «This successful effort retires one of the key risks on the program».

Testing was conducted on the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and Naval Electromagnetic Radiation Facility pads and also in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

During tests on the EMP pad at Patuxent River, the program’s second low-rate initial production KC-46 Pegasus received pulses from a large coil/transformer situated above the aircraft. The outdoor simulation was designed to test and evaluate the KC-46’s EMP protection while in flight.

The KC-46A Pegasus is a multirole tanker that is designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

Boeing is assembling KC-46 Pegasus aircraft at its Everett, Washington, facility.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Proof-of-Concept Phase

MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) participated in the 2017 Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA) Expo, July 26 – 28, 2017 at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, Reno, Nevada. The MD Helicopters booth, #600, was feature the MD 6XX Concept helicopter custom-configured for execution of a range of law-enforcement missions.

MDHI’s new MD-6XX concept helicopter is based on a stretched Hughes 500 airframe, and is currently in proof-of-concept development for operations including scout attack and special operations, utility and VIP transport (MDHI photo)
MDHI’s new MD-6XX concept helicopter is based on a stretched Hughes 500 airframe, and is currently in proof-of-concept development for operations including scout attack and special operations, utility and VIP transport (MDHI photo)

«We are always excited and honored to attend ALEA as an affirmation of our support for and commitment to this country’s law enforcement community», said Craig Kitchen, Chief Commercial Officer for MD Helicopters, «this year especially as we celebrate both our legacy of support for the law enforcement aviators and the future of law enforcement aviation in our MD 6XX Concept helicopter».

The MD 6XX Concept Helicopter will offer next generation technology and true multi-mission capability in a design that is underpinned by the performance, value and exceptional customer support that is inherent in the MD brand and is currently in proof-of-concept development for operations that range from law enforcement and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) to scout attack/special operations, utility and VIP transport.

MDHI debuted the MD 6XX Concept Aircraft at the 2017 Helicopter Association International conference configured with a certified single-patient EMS/Air Medical interior from Air Ambulance Technology.

 

Law Enforcement Configuration

In addition to the core components and enhancements highlighted at its HAI Heli-Expo debut:

  • Genesys Aerosystems IDU-680 all-glass primary displays;
  • Macro-Blue Tactical Displays featuring TekFusion Global, Inc.’s Mission Management System;
  • All-new Main Rotor Blades to deliver more efficient, more aerodynamic operation, reduced noise profile and better auto-rotation;
  • 4-Bladed Tail Rotor for enhanced performance and reduced noise signature;
  • Extended Composite Boom;
  • Boosted flight controls, providing reduced pilot work-load;
  • Digital 3-Axis Auto Pilot;
  • Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Capability.

The MD 6XX Concept aircraft also features mission equipment specifically selected for effective execution of law enforcement missions including:

  • Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) Star SAFIRE 380-HDc single Line-Replaceable Unit (LRU) Electro-Optical/InfraRed (EO/IR) Imaging System;
  • Spectrolab Nightsun XP Searchlight;
  • Little Bird Auxiliary Tank System (LBATS) by Robertson Fuel Systems;
  • Raptor Long Gun Mounting System.

«Our company is committed to ensuring law enforcement and military tactical teams are provided versatile, durable and high-quality equipment that provides both security and ease of access to their firearms when required», said Raptor President Nathan Wasankari. «Working with MD Helicopters to integrate our proven, modular, fast-access weapon mounting system into their law enforcement options package has been a seamless process. We look forward to ongoing collaborations and opportunities to reach new markets».

MD Helicopters manufactures class-leading helicopters that offer agility, versatility, unparalleled safety and economic value. Operators worldwide turn to MD Helicopters for high-performance rotorcraft backed by a passion for service and support.

«Air Units play a critical role in keeping communities safe. They provide an invaluable force multiplication that “We will forever stand strong with American law enforcement”», Kitchen concludes. «We have been dedicated to the airborne law enforcement community for more than 40 years now, and we look forward to serving and supporting this community for decades still to come».

In addition to showcasing the MD 6XX concept aircraft, MDHI will also be celebrating:

  • new aircraft sales specifically to law enforcement operators;
  • the growth of our E-to-F conversion program;
  • development milestones in the integration of all glass cockpits and MDHI’s full fleet of single and light twin-engine helicopters;
  • improving customer support performance and enhancements to the MyMD.aero customer support portal;
  • MDHI’s internal R&D and aircraft enhancement programs.

Builder’s Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division announced on July 25 the successful completion of builder’s sea trials on the guided missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114). The Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) destroyer spent more than three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing the ship’s main propulsion, combat and other ship systems.

Ingalls Shipbuilding completed builder's sea trials for USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114). The Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) destroyer spent more than three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing the ship’s main propulsion, combat and other ship systems (HII photo)
Ingalls Shipbuilding completed builder’s sea trials for USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114). The Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) destroyer spent more than three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing the ship’s main propulsion, combat and other ship systems (HII photo)

«It’s always a great accomplishment when our shipbuilders successfully take a ship to sea for the first time», Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said. «DDG-114’s sea trials showcase the skill of our shipbuilders and our large, national DDG-51 supplier base. We look forward to acceptance trials, and to delivering our 30th Aegis destroyer to our U.S. Navy customer later this year».

Ingalls has delivered 29 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy, most recently delivering USS John Finn (DDG-113), which was commissioned on July 15 in Pearl Harbor. Other destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls include USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117), USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) and USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123). In June, Ingalls received a contract modification to incorporate the «Flight III» upgrades to USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) which will start fabrication in 2018.

«Our test and trials personnel, craftsmen and Supervisor of Shipbuilding team continue to show their dedication to delivering quality ships to the Navy every time they go to sea on these trials», said George S. Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. «The shipbuilders at Ingalls take pride in their work and in the missions that these ships will be doing for our country».

DDG-114 is named to honor Private First Class Ralph Henry Johnson, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that saved others during the Vietnam War. Johnson shouted a warning to his fellow Marines and hurled himself on an explosive device, saving the life of one Marine and preventing the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol’s perimeter. Johnson died instantly. The Charleston, South Carolina, native had only been in Vietnam for two months and a few days when he was killed at the age of 19.

«There is still work to be done», said George Nungesser, Ingalls’ DDG-51 program manager. «Completing another successful sea trial puts us one step closer to delivering the Navy another state-of-the art guided missile destroyer to help in our nation’s defense. Now it’s time for our team to get back to work so they can have USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) ready for acceptance trials and then ready for the fleet».

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are highly capable, multi-mission ships and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States’ military strategy. The guided missile destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

 

Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 m
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load 9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
Power Plant 4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
Speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Range 4,400 NM/8,149 km at 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Crew 380 total: 32 Officers, 27 CPO (Chief Petty Officer), 321 OEM
Surveillance SPY-1D Phased Array Radar and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
Electronics/Countermeasures SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
Aircraft 2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Armament 2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 90 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 (62) Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos

 

Guided Missile Destroyers Lineup

 

Flight IIA: Restart

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-113 John Finn HIIIS 03-28-15 07-15-17 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
DDG-114 Ralph Johnson HIIIS 12-12-15
DDG-115 Rafael Peralta GDBIW 10-31-15  07-29-2017  San Diego, California