Tag Archives: Boeing

Enhanced Chinooks

The U.S. Army is continuing to modernize its heavy-lift helicopter fleet with an order for two more Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinooks and long lead funding for additional aircraft.

CH-47F Block II Chinook
The CH-47F Block II during first flight. The Block II Chinook is powered by cutting-edge technologies – including redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage and an enhanced drivetrain (Photo Credit: Fred Troilo)

«Modernizing the Chinook for our Army customer is a priority», said Ken Eland, Boeing vice president and H-47 program manager. «CH-47F Block II improves readiness, limits future sustainment costs and provides commonality across the fleet. We’re dedicated to making CH-47F Block II the best option for the Army’s heavy lift mission, now and well into the future». The CH-47F Block II Chinook is powered by cutting-edge technologies – including redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage and an enhanced drivetrain.

Last year, the Army awarded Boeing a $136 million contract for the first four CH-47F Block II aircraft, which began production in April 2022. The Lot 2 order valued at $63 million brings the total number of aircraft under contract to six. The separate Lot 3 advance procurement contract is valued at $29 million.

Boeing’s H-47 Chinook Block II expands upon 60 years of partnership with the U.S. Army. During that time, Boeing has delivered over 1,000 Chinooks to the U.S. Army, continuously modernizing the helicopter to meet evolving needs. The U.S. Army and 19 allied countries around the globe rely on the Chinook for its multi-mission capabilities including equipment and troop transport, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Manned-Unmanned Teaming

Boeing has digitally demonstrated a new open autonomy architecture for MQ-25 Stingray that will allow the U.S. Navy to increase mission effectiveness by integrating Manned-UnManned Teaming (MUM-T) capability at speed and scale.

MQ-25 Stingray
Boeing’s MUM-T demonstration included three different naval aircraft tasking four virtual, autonomous MQ-25s to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Here a simulated F/A-18 Super Hornet interacts with a simulated MQ-25 Stingray. The other aircraft tasking MQ-25s in the demo included Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye command and control aircraft and Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft

The non-proprietary architecture, based on the government-owned Open Mission System specification, is the foundation for advanced MUM-T. A Boeing-led team virtually demonstrated how other aircraft can use MQ-25’s architecture and task it to conduct tanking and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions – all within the mission airspace and without traditional communications with the ship-based ground control station.

Boeing’s MUM-T demonstration included Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye command and control aircraft, Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and Boeing’s F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter jet. Using their existing operational flight program software and data links, the aircraft safely and efficiently tasked four virtual, autonomous MQ-25s to conduct ISR missions. The F/A-18 Super Hornet also used its advanced tactical data links and Boeing’s conceptual «Project Black Ice» crew vehicle interface, which significantly reduced aircrew workload.

«Large swaths of ocean could be surveilled, identified and targeted when MQ-25 Stingray is teamed with carrier-based assets such as the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye or the land-based P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft», said Don «BD» Gaddis, director, MQ-25 Stingray Advanced Design. «Through this demonstration, our customers saw how this digital, open approach to MUM-T is key to fielding critical warfighting capability at much lower cost and with greater speed and agility».

For example, the demonstration showed how both the P-8A Poseidon and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye could easily task an MQ-25 Stingray teammate with an ISR mission specifying only the search area and no-fly zones. Using an onboard autonomy framework developed by Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, the MQ-25 Stingray autonomously did the rest – including validating the command against its operational constraints, planning its route and conducting its search pattern, among many other tasks.

Aurora also created and demonstrated a prototype platform abstraction layer – a software boundary that decouples MQ-25’s flight safety and flight critical components from mission software and sensor hardware. This commercial best practice allows third-party «app» integration on MQ-25 Stingray. Using an Aurora-provided software development kit, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division created a new radar search application for MQ-25 Stingray that was successfully used during the demonstration.

«Aurora’s robust software development kit enables our Navy teammates to rapidly integrate new capabilities», said Graham Drozeski, vice president of Government Programs for Aurora Flight Sciences. «The platform abstraction demonstration met test objectives for resource sharing between multiple onboard systems and supervisors, and these efforts will greatly reduce government test and certification costs as new capabilities are added over time».

The demonstration was aligned to the future warfighting capabilities in the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Campaign Framework. Boeing will continue to refine the autonomy, sensors, interface exchanges and crew vehicle interfaces required for MUM-T.

Grey Wolf

Boeing has delivered four MH-139A Grey Wolf test aircraft to the U.S. Air Force as the service prepares to replace its aging fleet of UH-1N helicopters.

MH-139A Grey Wolf
MH-139A Grey Wolf will protect intercontinental ballistic missiles and support four Major Air Force Commands and other operating agencies

The Grey Wolf is a multi-mission aircraft – based on the proven commercial AW139 helicopter – designed to protect intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport U.S. government officials and security forces. Boeing was awarded a $2.4 billion contract in September 2018 for 80 helicopters, training systems and associated support equipment.

«The Grey Wolf is a modern, versatile aircraft offering greater range, speed and endurance than the UH-1N Huey it replaces», said Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. «I am proud of our team who, along with our partner Leonardo, helped us to achieve this milestone – a tremendous first step in a long line of Grey Wolf deliveries».

The delivery milestone follows receipt of the Federal Aviation Administration-issued supplemental type certificate, required to commence deliveries. With aircraft in hand, the Air Force will now proceed with Military Utility Testing as the program progresses toward Milestone C.

«We are thrilled that the first four MH-139As have been accepted by the U.S. Air Force», said Clyde Woltman, chief executive officer, Leonardo Helicopters U.S. «This aircraft is well-positioned to become an important asset in the defense and security of the United States».

Leonardo produces the helicopter at its plant in northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing is responsible for military equipment procurement ad installation, and post-delivery support of the aircraft.

Boeing has the most advanced military rotorcraft in the world, renowned for leading-edge solutions that deliver proven capabilities. With 60 years of expertise and a global fleet over 2,500 strong – comprising the AH-6 Little Bird, AH-64 Apache, V-22 Osprey and H-47 Chinook aircraft, and in-development entrants, including the MH-139A Grey Wolf and DEFIANT X – Boeing advances missions ranging from precision attack and reconnaissance to medium and heavy lift operations.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

Long-Range Ramjet

Boeing and Norwegian defense and aerospace company Nammo have successfully test-fired a ramjet-powered artillery projectile, further demonstrating the viability of one of the U.S. Army’s modernization priorities – long-range precision fires.

Boeing Ramjet 155
Boeing, Nammo Complete Long-Range Ramjet Artillery Test

During the June 28 test at the Andøya Test Center in Norway, a Boeing Ramjet 155 projectile was fired out of a cannon and its ramjet engine ignited successfully. It demonstrated flight stability with a well-controlled engine combustion process.

«We believe the Boeing Ramjet 155, with continued technology maturation and testing, can help the U.S. Army meet its long-range precision fires modernization priorities», said Steve Nordlund, Boeing Phantom Works vice president and general manager. «This successful test is evidence that we are making great progress».

«This is a historic moment for Nammo», said Nammo Chief Executive Officer Morten Brandtzæg. «The test results demonstrate that ramjets are viable and can fundamentally change the future of artillery».

«We have great confidence in the ramjet concept», Brandtzæg added. «The test – with all aspects from cannon firing, to the projectile body, fins, and trajectory all functioning perfectly – represents a real technological breakthrough in artillery, and a major success for Boeing, Nammo, and the U.S. Army».

The long-range test at Andøya follows years of research, development and testing by Boeing and Nammo of ramjet technology, including more than 450 static or short-range tests.

Boeing Phantom Works and Nammo have been working together under a strategic partnership to jointly develop and produce the next generation of boosted artillery projectiles. In July 2019, the Boeing-Nammo team was awarded a contract under the U.S. Army’s XM1155 program to develop and mature the Ramjet 155 projectile. In May 2021, the team was awarded a Phase II technology development contract.

Ramjet 155 uses an engine in which the air drawn in for combustion is compressed solely by the forward motion of the projectile at supersonic speeds. Considered a hybrid between guided artillery and missiles, the program has an objective of a common round design that can be used in L39 and L58 cannons.

The team continues to develop and mature the technology, with further testing and demonstrations planned in the coming months.

New Zealand’s Poseidon

Boeing on July 21, 2022 debuted the first P-8A Poseidon aircraft for New Zealand in its Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) livery. New Zealand is one of eight nations to have acquired the P-8 as their new multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.

P-8A Poseidon
New Zealand’s First Boeing P-8A Poseidon Rolls Out of Paint Shop

«The aircraft features the iconic Kiwi roundel, a native bird to New Zealand», said Sheena Vince Cruz, Boeing P-8 Asia-Pacific region program manager. «Although flightless, the Kiwi bird is recognizable and will continue ‘flying’ as a symbol on the P-8A Poseidon for decades to come».

The New Zealand Government purchased four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft that will eventually replace the current fleet of six aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft. The P-8As will provide advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighboring waters on and below the surface of the ocean.

First flight is scheduled in the coming weeks followed by mission systems installation. The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence later this year.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

Manned-unmanned teaming

The F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler Program Office (PMA-265) has conducted a successful series of Manned-UnManned Teaming (MUM-T) flight tests in which a Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstrated command and control of three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet
U.S. Navy Super Hornet teams with unmanned aerial vehicles in flight demos

The event took place at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Point Mugu, California, and included four flight tests supported by Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons (VX) 23 and 31 and industry partners, Boeing and BAE Systems.

«The MUM-T concept explores interoperability between manned aircraft and unmanned autonomous systems to conduct missions», said Captain Jason Denney, program manager for PMA-265. «Such collaborative endeavors are imperative for resource and requirements planning to ensure the warfighter is equipped with best-in-class capabilities».

During the flight tests, F/A-18 pilots Super Hornet entered commands into a third-party tablet instructing the UAVs to perform various maneuvers used in combat missions. The tablet was connected to the Block III’s adjunct processor, known as the Distributed Targeting Processor – Networked (DTP-N), which transmitted these commands to the UAVs. The UAVs successfully carried out all commands given by the pilots.

«The U.S. Navy conducts exercises of this nature with industry partners to evaluate current and future capabilities», said Doctor Michael Yu, PMA-265 science and technology, and experimentation/demo lead. «The comprehensive analysis of data captured during these events further informs development and refinement of technologies that could potentially be incorporated into Navy platforms».

Yu said MUM-T could allow the U.S. Navy to extend the reach of its aircrew, while keeping them farther away from enemy fire. This capability could also enable pilots to delegate tasks or incorporate UAVs into missions such as patrolling airspace, fueling aircraft or serving as a communication relay node.

«MUM-T has the potential to transform tomorrow’s fleet into a more lethal, better-connected force», said Denney. «MUM-T will help us maintain the technological advantage and competitive edge against our adversaries».

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet serves as the backbone of carrier-based aviation power projection. PMA-265 continues to evaluate MUM-T and other innovative technology to keep the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler strategically relevant in today’s dynamic combat environment.

Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The newest Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol, reconnaissance aircraft took to the skies over Puget Sound bringing the total number of P-8s delivered to 150. The 150th multi-mission P-8A Poseidon will be operated by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) One based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

P-8A Poseidon
Boeing Delivers 150th P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft

«There are now 150 P-8s around the world delivering confidence and an unmatched capability to our global customers», said Stu Voboril, vice president and program manager, P-8 Programs. «Our focus has been, and will be, on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft».

Amassing more than 450,000 mishap-free flight hours, the global P-8 fleet includes 112 aircraft delivered to the U.S. Navy, 12 to Australia, 12 to India, nine to the United Kingdom and five to Norway. The aircraft are designed for anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and search and rescue.

The 150 P-8s in service do not include six test aircraft provided to the U.S. Navy during the initial stages of the program. Boeing tested those aircraft during development to assess capabilities and performance. As development of system enhancements and new technology continues, the test aircraft perform a critical role in ensuring Boeing provides state-of-the-art capabilities to global P-8A Poseidon customers.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

First Red Hawk

Boeing has unveiled the first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer jet to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The jet, one of 351 the U.S. Air Force plans to order, was unveiled prior to official delivery.

T-7A Red Hawk
The first T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer has rolled out of the production facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Ushering in a new era of training for U.S. Air Force fighter and bomber pilots. The jets have red tails to honor the legendary Tuskegee Airmen who flew their aircraft with red tails during World War II. First jets scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph next year (Photo Credit- Eric Shindelbower)

The fully digitally designed aircraft was built and tested using advanced manufacturing, agile software development and digital engineering technology significantly reducing the time from design to first flight. The aircraft also features open architecture software, providing growth and flexibility to meet future mission needs.

«We’re excited and honored to deliver this digitally advanced, next-generation trainer to the U.S. Air Force», said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. «This aircraft is a tangible example of how Boeing, its suppliers and partners are leading the digital engineering revolution. T-7A Red Hawk will prepare pilots for future missions for decades to come».

The T-7A Red Hawk incorporates a red-tailed livery in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. These airmen made up the first African American aviation unit to serve in the U.S. military.

«The Tuskegee Airmen are one of the most celebrated units in our Air Force history, and the T-7A Red Hawk honors the bravery and skill of these trailblazers», said Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force. «Like the Airmen they were named and painted to pay homage to, the T-7A Red Hawks break down the barriers of flight. These digitally-engineered aircraft will make it possible for a diverse cross section of future fighter and bomber pilots to be trained, and provide an advanced training system and capabilities that will meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s national security environment».

The aircraft will remain in St. Louis where it will undergo ground and flight tests before being delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The T-7A Red Hawk program resides at Boeing’s St. Louis facility with the aft section of the trainer being built by Saab in Linkoping, Sweden. Saab will soon start producing that section at their new production facility in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Ghost Bat

Boeing Australia congratulates the Australian Government and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on their selection of ‘MQ-28A Ghost Bat’ as the military designator and name for the first Australian-produced military combat aircraft in over 50 years.

MQ-28A Ghost Bat
The newly-named MQ-28A Ghost Bat during the second test flight series at Woomera Range Complex in South Australia

Australia’s Defence Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, announced the designator and name at a dedicated ceremony held at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland.

«The introduction of the new popular name is a rare and special moment in aviation history for our RAAF partners and industry team of over 35 Australian suppliers», said Glen Ferguson, director Airpower Teaming System Australia and International.

«Selecting the Ghost Bat, an Australian native mammal known for teaming together in a pack to detect and hunt, reflects the unique characteristics of the aircraft’s sensors and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance abilities, and is a fitting name for this pioneering capability», said Ferguson.

With a rapid development timetable of just three years from ideation to first flight, the development program leverages advancements in digital engineering, advanced manufacturing and unique Australian supply chain technologies.

While the RAAF Loyal Wingman development program name will phase out, Boeing’s product name for global customers will remain the Airpower Teaming System.

«Our enduring partnership with Commonwealth of Australia and Australian Defence Force (ADF) is fundamental to the successful development of MQ-28A’s complex technologies and capabilities, and has global export potential for Australia», said Dr Brendan Nelson AO, president Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

During 2022, the program will continue to accelerate the development and testing of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat, with a focus on sensor and missionisation capabilities to deliver on RAAF commitments. These requirements will continue to expand as Boeing moves towards the aim of delivering an operational capability for the ADF.

Boeing unveils Ghost Bat, the new name for Loyal Wingman

Poseidon

Boeing P-8A Poseidon team members and Spirit AeroSystems employees have laid the keel beam for New Zealand’s first P-8A Poseidon. This process, also called ‘keeling,’ was done at the Spirit AeroSystems facility where all Boeing 737 fuselages, nacelles and pylons are designed and built. Laying the keel is an important production milestone during the build of any ship or aircraft and represents the cornerstone of this latest P-8A Poseidon.

P-8A Poseidon
Boeing begins build on New Zealand’s first P-8A Aircraft

Rosemary Banks, New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States, who was on hand to witness the keeling said, «Today’s keeling ceremony is the beginning of a new era for New Zealand’s maritime patrol and response capability. Our four P-8A Poseidons will better equip our defence forces to extend their reach into the Pacific and beyond, working with our partners and friends».

An aircraft keel runs the length of the fuselage belly. Due to the innovative in-line approach to the build of commercial derivative aircraft pioneered on the P-8A Poseidon, the keel beam on a P-8A Poseidon is different from the typical 737 keel beam. The P-8A Poseidon keel includes unique aspects of the P-8A Poseidon configuration, such as the integration of an internal weapons bay.

«The excitement of seeing this come together was contagious», said Brian Stuart, P-8A Poseidon program manager for New Zealand. «Not only are we kicking off the journey to the first New Zealand P-8A Poseidon delivery, but we are strengthening our relationships with suppliers like Spirit as well as our U.S. Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force customers».

The panel and other fuselage components will be completed on Spirit’s existing 737 production line. Spirit will ship the P-8A Poseidon fuselage to a Boeing Commercial Airplanes facility in Renton, Washington for final assembly. After that, Boeing Defense, Space & Security employees will install mission systems and complete testing prior to delivery to New Zealand later this year.

In total, four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will eventually replace New Zealand’s current fleet of six aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft providing advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighboring waters on and below the surface of the ocean.

The New Zealand Defence Force is a P-8 Poseidon foreign military sales customer and is one of eight global customers. Current P-8 operators include the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Indian Navy, United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Norway’s Royal Norwegian Air Force.

To date, the global operating P-8A Poseidon fleet has amassed more than 400,000 mishap-free flight hours. The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. In addition, the P-8A Poseidon performs humanitarian and search and rescue missions around the globe.