Boeing and the U.S. Space Force successfully completed the first major engineering design review for the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS)-11+ communications satellite. This successful review demonstrates that Boeing is ready to proceed to the final system design phase. Production will begin next year at Boeing’s El Segundo factory, with delivery scheduled for 2024.
WGS-11+ features a modern digital payload that performs at twice the operational capability of its predecessors, increasing the availability of military-grade communications. Leveraging advances in Boeing commercial technologies, it will provide secure communications to connect U.S. and allied forces globally.
The current WGS constellation, consisting of 10 satellites, is the backbone of the U.S. military’s global communications system, providing flexible, high data-rate connectivity. Users include all U.S. military services, the White House Communications Agency, the U.S. State Department and international partners.
«Completing this engineering design review is a key milestone and brings us one step closer to delivering this groundbreaking satellite to the warfighter in record time, significantly improving capacity and coverage to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and allies», said Colonel John Dukes, chief of the Geosynchronous/Polar Division at Space and Missile Systems Center Production Corps.
«WGS-11+ uses narrower spot beams to deliver a stronger, more reliable connection exactly where it’s needed, which means better performance and greater flexibility than ever before», said Troy Dawson, vice president of Boeing Government Satellite Systems.
In addition to U.S. military forces, the WGS constellation provides service to international partners including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Norway.
Boeing Australia powered up the commercial turbofan engine on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft in September, as part of ground testing and preparations for first flight.
This milestone comes on the heels of Boeing completing the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force earlier this year, a major step forward for the unmanned vehicle serving as the foundation for the global Boeing Airpower Teaming System, an artificial intelligence-powered teaming aircraft developed for the global defense market.
«This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team», said Doctor Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. «We’ve been able to select a very light, off-the-shelf jet engine for the unmanned system as a result of the advanced manufacturing technologies applied to the aircraft».
Boeing is delivering new technologies and performance improvements to U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with the Block II Chinook helicopter. Boeing’s Philadelphia team recently delivered the first MH-47G Block II Chinook to SOCOM on time.
«This delivery marks a major step for the Chinook program», said Andy Builta, vice president and H-47 program manager. «The new Chinook will give U.S. Special Operations Forces significantly more capability for extremely challenging missions and will enable them to conduct those missions on the future battlefield».
The company is on contract for 23 more MH-47G Block II Chinooks, having signed a contract with SOCOM in July.
Boeing has more than 4,600 employees in Pennsylvania supporting Chinook, the V-22 Osprey, MH-139A Grey Wolf and a number of services and engineering efforts. Including suppliers and vendors, Boeing’s activities support an estimated 16,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.
Boeing and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) recently signed a Direct Commercial Sale agreement to support upgrades to Japan’s F-15J fleet.
The contract is part of a larger $4.5 billion modernization program, announced by the U.S. Government in October 2019. The upgrades will introduce state-of-the-art electronic warfare and weapons. An all-new advanced cockpit system, running on the world’s most advanced mission computer, will deliver pilots enhanced situational awareness.
Under the agreement, Boeing will provide MHI with retrofit drawings, ground support equipment and technical publications for the upgrade of the first two F-15J aircraft to the Japan Super Interceptor configuration.
Boeing has partnered with MHI in the defense arena since the 1950s. MHI produced under license the current Japan F-15J fleet of over 200 aircraft between 1980 and 2000, and will serve as prime contractor for the upgrade. Sojitz Corporation, a trading company that works with Boeing’s team in Japan, will support this effort.
«Through this agreement, Boeing is honored to further our long-standing tradition of support for Japan’s Ministry of Defense, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and MHI», said Will Shaffer, Boeing Japan President. «These upgrades will deliver critical capability for national and collective self-defense, in which the F-15J plays a key role. At the same time, they will provide MHI and our partners in Japan’s aerospace defense industry with an opportunity to enhance their own extensive engineering capabilities».
This DCS contract lays the foundation of the modernization program. MHI will develop the detailed modification plan for the jets and prepare the facilities and workforce for the induction and upgrade of up to 98 aircraft beginning in 2022.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a nearly $1.2 billion contract to build the first lot of eight F-15EX Strike Eagle advanced fighter jets to help the service meet its capacity requirements and add capability to its fighter fleet. The award also covers support and one-time, upfront engineering costs. Already under construction at the Boeing F-15 production facility in St. Louis, the first two jets deliver next year.
The U.S. Air Force is also announcing the overall Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with a ceiling value of nearly $23 billion for F-15EX Strike Eagle.
«The F-15EX Strike Eagle is the most advanced version of the F-15 ever built, due in large part to its digital backbone», said Lori Schneider, Boeing F-15EX Strike Eagle program manager. «Its unmatched range, price and best-in-class payload capacity make the F-15EX Strike Eagle an attractive choice for the U.S. Air Force».
The F-15EX Strike Eagle carries more weapons than any other fighter in its class, and can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22 feet/6.7 meters long and weighing up to 7,000 pounds/3,175 kg.
To further support the digital airframe and advance rapid technology insertion, the F-15 program serves as a pathfinder for the Department of Defense’s DevSecOps initiative, aimed at developing secure, flexible and agile software. Additionally, open mission systems architecture ensures its viability for decades.
«F-15EX Strike Eagle brings together benefits of digital engineering, open mission systems and agile software development to keep it affordable and upgradable for decades to come», said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. «This means we can rapidly test and field new capabilities on F-15EX Strike Eagle keeping our warfighters ahead of threats».
Pilots and mechanics currently operating the F-15 anticipate transitioning to the F-15EX Strike Eagle in a matter of days as opposed to years. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.
«We listened to our customer every step of the way when developing this exciting jet», said Kumar. «What we will soon deliver is a modern and robust aircraft that supports our nation’s defense by incorporating the latest systems, sensors and weapons».
Bell Boeing delivered the first V-22 Osprey to Camp Kisarazu in Japan on July 10. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) is the first operator of the V-22 Osprey outside of the U.S. military.
«The delivery of the first Japanese V-22 Osprey is an important milestone and represents our strong partnership with the Government of Japan», said Shane Openshaw, Boeing vice president of Tiltrotor Programs and Bell Boeing deputy program director. «The Osprey’s ability to carry out the toughest missions in the most challenging operating environments will reshape what is possible for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force».
The V-22 Osprey can conduct multiple missions not possible with traditional rotorcraft or fixed-wing aircraft, improving mission efficiency and reducing logistic costs. Japan’s V-22 Osprey has a unique configuration with a customer-specific communication system. The marinized design resists corrosion and reduces the cost of long-term maintenance. JGSDF service members have been training with U.S. Marines for the last month to gain aircraft proficiency before delivery of their first V-22 Osprey.
«We have had the pleasure of working with the JGSDF state-side to produce, develop, train and maintain their initial fleet of aircraft», said Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Osprey Joint Program Office (PMA-275). «This arrival marks a key step in standing up its V-22 Osprey fleet, and more importantly, the continued collaboration between our nations».
Japan joins the United States Marines, Navy, and Air Force in operating the V-22 Osprey. These aircraft support multiple missions, including the transportation of personnel, supplies, and equipment; humanitarian support and search and rescue missions; long-range personnel recovery. With more than 500,000 flight hours, the V-22 Osprey is one of the most in-demand platforms in military aviation, providing safe, survivable, combat-proven mission success only capable with the tiltrotor range, speed and versatility of the V-22 Osprey.
Boeing has completed delivery of all new AH-64E Apache and CH-47F(I) Chinook military helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The final five of the 22 Apache attack helicopters were handed over to the IAF at Air Force Station, Hindan. Earlier in March, Boeing handed over the last five of 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the IAF.
«Customer centricity, commitment to the modernization and mission-readiness of India’s defence forces are key values to our partnership with India», said Surendra Ahuja, managing director, Boeing Defence India. «With this delivery of military helicopters, we continue to nurture this partnership and are fully committed to working closely with India’s defence forces to deliver the right value and capabilities to meet their operational needs», Ahuja added.
India is one of 17 nations to select the Apache and has the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache that is also flown by the U.S. and many other countries. The AH-64E Apache is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture including the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. It has an improved Modernized Target Acquisition Designation System that provides day, night and all-weather target information, as well as night vision navigation capability. In addition to classifying air and ground targets, the Fire Control Radar has been updated to operate in the maritime environment. It is uniquely suited to meet a commander’s needs, including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack, across myriad environments – without reconfiguration.
Twenty defence forces around the world either have Chinooks in service, or are on contract to receive them. The iconic tandem-rotor helicopter has been the world’s most reliable and efficient heavy-lift helicopter for more than 50 years, allowing customers to operate in climatic (hot), altitude (high), and crosswind conditions that typically keep other helicopters from flying. The CH-47F(I) Chinook contains a modern machined airframe, a Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit, and a Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS). Those innovations and technologies will help the Indian Air Force meet evolving mission demands, maximize interoperability, and reduce lifecycle costs.
The Indian Ministry of Defence finalized its order with Boeing for the production, training and support of 22 AH-64E Apache and 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook helicopters in September 2015. Earlier this year, India and the U.S. signed a contract for the acquisition of six Apaches for the Indian Army during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to New Delhi.
Boeing’s joint venture in Hyderabad, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) has been producing aero-structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter for both US Army and international customers. TBAL marks a major step towards the co-development of integrated systems in aerospace and defense in India. Boeing’s suppliers in India are manufacturing critical systems and components for the Chinooks, including the crown and tailcone assembly by Tata Advanced Systems and the ramp and aft pylon by Dynamatic Technologies. Boeing today works with over 200 suppliers and partners in the country in support of «Make in India» and «Skill India».
Boeing Defence India provides holistic lifecycle solutions for government and defence customers in the country. Boeing delivers services that ensure high availability and mission-readiness of platforms to its defence customers at competitive costs through its investments in services infrastructure and building local capabilities and partnerships. With the induction of the Apaches and Chinooks, Boeing anticipates additional opportunities in rotorcraft training and sustainment.
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, and Boeing delivered the first CMV-22B Osprey for fleet operations to the U.S. Navy on June 22. The V-22 is based at Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.
«This first fleet delivery marks a new chapter of the V-22 Tiltrotor program providing enhanced capabilities and increased flexibility to the U.S. Navy as they conduct important operational missions around the globe», said Shane Openshaw, Boeing vice president of Tiltrotor Programs and deputy director of the Bell Boeing team.
This aircraft is the third overall delivery to the U.S. Navy. Bell Boeing delivered the first CMV-22B Osprey at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in February for developmental testing, followed by a second in May. The U.S. Navy variant V-22 will take over the Carrier Onboard Delivery Mission, replacing the C-2A Greyhound.
«We are thrilled to bring the Osprey’s capabilities as a warfighting enabler and its ability to provide time sensitive logistics to the men and women deployed around the world in support of U.S. Navy operations», said Kurt Fuller, Bell V-22 vice president and Bell Boeing program director.
The CMV-22B Osprey and C-2A Greyhound conducted a symbolic passing of the torch flight in April.
«The CMV-22 will be a game-changing enabler to the high end fight supporting the sustainment of combat lethality to the carrier strike group», said U.S. Navy Captain Dewon Chaney, Commodore, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing. «The multi-mission capabilities of the CMV-22, already recognized, will be realized in Naval Aviation’s Air Wing of the future. The arrival of this aircraft is the first of many steps to that becoming reality».
The CMV-22B Osprey carries up to 6,000 pounds/2,722 kg of cargo and combines the Vertical TakeOff, hover and Landing (VTOL) qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft.
Bell Boeing designed the Navy variant to have the expanded range needed for fleet operations. Two additional 60-gallon tanks and redesigned forward sponson tanks can cover more than 1,150 nautical miles. The CMV-22B Osprey also has the unique ability to provide roll-on/roll-off delivery of the F135 engine power module, enhancing the U.S. Navy’s readiness.
Long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces
Two Rolls-Royce Liberty AE1107C engines, each deliver 6,200 shaft horsepower/4,560 kW
38 feet/11.58 meters; Blades per rotor: Three
63 feet/19.2 meters
22 feet/6.7 meters, 1 inch/2.54 centimeters with nacelles vertical
84.6 feet/25.79 meters with rotors turning
Maximum gross, Vertical Take-Off
52,600 lbs./23,859 kg
Maximum gross, Short Take-Off
57,000 lbs./ 25,855 kg
Cruise: 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h
25,000 feet/7,620 meters
2,100 NM/2,417 miles/3,889 km with internal auxiliary fuel tanks
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, and Boeing have delivered the 400th V-22 Osprey to the United States Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations command received the CV-22 Osprey on June 2, marking a milestone for the world’s first production tiltrotor aircraft.
«The delivery of the 400th V-22 Osprey represents the demand for this platform’s unique capabilities. It is a testament to the diligence of the men and women from Bell, Boeing and our entire supply chain who build and deliver this incredible aircraft to our customers», said Kurt Fuller, Bell V-22 Osprey vice president and Bell Boeing program director. «For over 30 years, the people who support the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey have been the foundation in bringing tiltrotor capabilities to the world».
The CV-22 Osprey is the Special Operations Forces (SOF) variant of the V-22 Osprey. The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for Air Commandos around the world and at a moment’s notice.
«It’s been over 20 years since the first production V-22 Osprey was delivered, and we are proud to reach another milestone in our 400th delivery. V-22s continue to be in high demand, protecting our country and our allies around the world through combat operations, international training partnerships and humanitarian missions», said Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Osprey Joint Program Office (PMA-275). «This platform’s impact can’t be overstated».
The V-22 Osprey’s combination of speed, range, payload and vertical lift are ideally suited to the diverse environments, geographies and mission-types performed by operators around the world. The Marine Corps variant, the MV-22B Osprey, provides the safe and reliable transportation of personnel, supplies and equipment for combat assault, assault support and fleet logistics. Since 2007, it has been continuously forward-deployed in a range of combat, humanitarian and special operations. The Navy variant, the CMV-22B Osprey, is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the carrier onboard delivery mission.
Ospreys continue to transform airpower capabilities by enabling the successful completion of missions not possible with conventional aircraft. The V-22 Osprey production line is currently on its third multi-year procurement contract.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the United States Space Force-7 (USSF-7) mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).
«The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever changing, health and safety conditions», said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. «We were honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19. It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success».
Along with OTV-6, this mission deployed FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct experiments on orbit. The mission also carried two NASA experiments, including a material sample plate to determine the results of radiation and other space effects on various materials, and an experiment which will assess space effects on seeds used to grow food. Another experiment sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory will examine the ability to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could be transmitted to the ground.
This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration rocket that included a 5-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.
ULA’s next launch is NASA’s Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for July 17 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
To date ULA has a track record of 100% mission success with 139 successful launches.
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.