Boeing recently delivered the first CH-47F Chinook with an upgraded cockpit to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), continuing a track record of on-time deliveries to customers. The RNLAF will operate a fleet of 20 CH-47F Chinooks, the newest configuration in use by countries around the world.
«The RNLAF made it clear to us that they need the advanced, proven capability of the CH-47F now», said Andy Builta, vice president of Cargo & Utility Helicopters and H-47 program manager. «I want to thank our phenomenal team for working hard during a difficult situation to safely deliver these aircraft. This is a reminder to all of us of how important Chinooks are to our customers».
The 20 CH-47F Chinooks will be a fleet equipped with the same state-of-the-art technology as the U.S. Army, including digital automatic flight controls, a fully-integrated Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit, and advanced cargo handling capabilities. The common configuration leads to lower overall life cycle costs.
The RNLAF currently flies a mix of F-model Chinooks with the Advanced Cockpit Management System (ACMS) and CH-47D Chinooks.
«It has been a pleasure to work closely together with the U.S. Army and Boeing teams to achieve this milestone», said Colonel Koen van Gogh, Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation. «The Chinook helicopter is a vital asset for our missions and the in-time delivery certainly supports our operational planning. I salute the Boeing workforce for their continued efforts to make this happen in these troubling times, as well as the U.S. Army officials that helped keep us on track».
Deliveries to the RNLAF are expected to continue into 2021. Chinooks are currently in service or under contract with 20 international defense forces, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Special Operations Forces and eight NATO member nations.
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 160,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.
Boeing is offering the U.S. Army an agile, fully integrated, purpose-built system for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) prototype competition.
Boeing FARA is designed to meet the Army’s current mission needs while evolving as technologies and missions change. The thrust compounded single-main rotor helicopter boasts a six-bladed rotor system, a single engine, tandem seating and a modular, state-of-the-art cockpit with a reconfigurable large area display and autonomous capabilities.
«We’re offering more than a helicopter – we’re offering an affordable and fully integrated system for the Army, the mission and the future. We’ve blended innovation, ingenuity and proven rotorcraft experience with extensive testing and advanced analysis to offer a very compelling solution», said Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works.
The fly-by-wire design leverages more than 65 years of rotorcraft experience, proven advanced and additive manufacturing technology, and product commonality driving down risk and costs. The system will provide seamless capability within the Army ecosystem to include Long-Range Precision Fires and air-launched effects.
«We listened to the Army, assessed all alternatives, and optimized our design to provide the right aircraft to meet the requirements», said Shane Openshaw, Boeing FARA program manager. «We are offering a very reliable, sustainable and flexible aircraft with a focus on safety and the future fight».
FARA will fill a critical gap in Army aviation for an advanced light attack and reconnaissance capability, previously held by the now-retired Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.
Boeing and the U.S. Navy successfully flew two autonomously controlled EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Patuxent River as Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) using a third Growler as a mission controller for the other two.
The flights, conducted during the U.S. Navy Warfare Development Command’s annual FLeet EXperiment (FLEX) exercises, proved the effectiveness of technology allowing F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to perform combat missions with unmanned systems.
«This demonstration allows Boeing and the Navy the opportunity to analyze the data collected and decide where to make investments in future technologies», said Tom Brandt, Boeing Manned-UnManned Teaming demonstration lead. «It could provide synergy with other U.S. Navy unmanned systems in development across the spectrum and in other services».
Over the course of four flights, 21 demonstration missions were completed.
«This technology allows the Navy to extend the reach of sensors while keeping manned aircraft out of harm’s way», Brandt said. «It’s a force multiplier that enables a single aircrew to control multiple aircraft without greatly increasing workload. It has the potential to increase survivability as well as situational awareness».
The first CMV-22B Osprey, built by Boeing and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, completed first flight operations at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center. The CMV-22B is the latest variant of the tiltrotor fleet, joining the MV-22 Osprey and CV-22 Osprey used by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force.
The U.S. Navy will use the CMV-22B Osprey to replace the C-2A Greyhound for transporting personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea. Bell Boeing designed the U.S. Navy variant specifically for carrier fleet operations by providing increased fuel capacity for the extended range requirement. The mission flexibility of the CMV-22B Osprey will increase operational capabilities and readiness, in addition to ferrying major components of the F-35 Lightning II engine.
«With the ability to travel up to 1,150 nautical miles/1,323 miles/2,130 kg, the CMV-22B Osprey will be a lifeline for our servicemen and women out at sea», said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Program. «The quality and safety built into this aircraft will revolutionize the way the U.S. Navy fulfills its critical carrier onboard delivery mission».
Bell Boeing will deliver the first CMV-22B Osprey to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 in early 2020 for developmental test.
Saab started assembly production on January 10, 2020 of its section of the T-7A Red Hawk aircraft, the advanced trainer developed and produced together with Boeing for the United States Air Force (USAF).
Saab is responsible for the development and production of the aft fuselage section for the advanced trainer, with seven aft units being produced in Linköping, Sweden for final assembly at Boeing’s U.S. facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
«In little over a year since we signed the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract, we are starting production of our part of the T-7A Red Hawk jet. This achievement is possible due to the great collaboration between Saab and Boeing, and it is an honour to be part of this programme for the United States Air Force», says Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.
The work is being performed in Linkoping, Sweden, after which future production of Saab’s part for the T-7A Red Hawk will be moved to our new U.S. site in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Saab facility in West Lafayette is an important part of Saab’s growth strategy in the United States, creating strong organic capabilities for the development, manufacturing and sales of its products.
Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the T-7A Red Hawk advanced pilot training system acquisition by the U.S. Air Force. Saab and Boeing developed the aircraft with Saab as a risk-sharing partner. Saab received the EMD order from Boeing, on September 18, 2018.
For the first time, Boeing and the U.S. Navy flew an F/A-18 Super Hornet equipped with an Infrared Search & Track (IRST) Block II pod in late 2019. IRST Block II is a critical component of the Block III Super Hornet. The Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system. The updates are expected to keep the F/A-18 Super Hornet in active service for decades to come.
IRST Block II is a passive, long-range sensor incorporating infrared and other sensor technologies for highly accurate targeting.
«The IRST Block II gives the F/A-18 Super Hornet improved optics and processing power, significantly improving pilot situational awareness of the entire battle space», said Jennifer Tebo, Boeing Director of F/A-18 Super Hornet Development.
Currently in the risk reduction phase of development, IRST Block II flights on the Super Hornet allow Boeing and the U.S. Navy to collect valuable data on the system before deployment to the fleet. The IRST Block II variant will be delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2021, reaching Initial Operational Capability (IOC) shortly thereafter.
«The IRST Block II sensor gives U.S. Navy fighters extended range and increasing survivability. This technology will help the U.S. Navy maintain its advantage over potential adversaries for many years», said Kenen Nelson, Lockheed Martin Director of Fixed Wing Programs, supplier of the IRST Block II sensor.
Boeing on January 8, 2020 delivered the core stage of NASA’s first Space Launch System (SLS) deep space exploration rocket, moving it out of the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the agency’s Pegasus barge.
The event marks the first time a completed rocket stage has shipped out of Michoud since the end of the Apollo program. SLS Core Stage 1 is the largest single rocket stage ever built by NASA and its industry partners.
The rollout follows several weeks of final testing and check-outs after NASA’s declaration of «core stage complete» during a December 9 Artemis Day celebration at Michoud.
NASA will transport the SLS core stage to its Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in the next few days for «Green Run» hot-fire engine tests later this year. After inspection and refurbishing for launch, the stage moves to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At Kennedy, the core stage will be integrated with the Interim Cryogenic Upper Stage (ICPS) and NASA’s Orion spacecraft for the uncrewed Artemis I mission around the moon – the first launch of a human-rated spacecraft to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
«The Boeing SLS team has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with NASA and our supplier partners to face multiple challenges with ingenuity and perseverance, while keeping safety and quality at the forefront», said John Shannon, Boeing SLS vice president and program manager.
SLS is the world’s most powerful rocket, evolvable and built to carry astronauts and cargo farther and faster than any rocket in history. Its unmatched capabilities will deliver human-rated spacecraft, habitats and science missions to the moon, Mars and beyond as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
«We are applying what we’ve learned from development of the first core stage to accelerate work on core stages 2 and 3, already in production at Michoud, as well as the Exploration Upper Stage that will power NASA’s most ambitious Artemis missions», said Shannon.
Boeing and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, have delivered the first modified MV-22 Osprey to the United States Marine Corps for improved readiness and reliability of the tiltrotor fleet.
The Marines have multiple configurations of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft in service. Under the Common Configuration – Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM) program, Bell Boeing is reducing the number of configurations by upgrading block «B» aircraft to the current block «C» configuration.
«Our first CC-RAM aircraft returning to Marine Corps Air Station New River was a key program benchmark», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager, V-22 Osprey Joint Program Office (PMA-275). «We are excited to see the capability, commonality and readiness improvements these CC-RAM aircraft bring to the fleet as part of the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey readiness program».
As a block «B» configuration, this MV-22 Osprey was originally delivered to the fleet in 2005. In 2018, the aircraft flew from Marine Corps Air Station New River to the Boeing Philadelphia facility for modernization.
«This milestone marks the beginning of an Osprey evolution», said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Program. «Through a shared focus on safety and quality, the Bell Boeing team is delivering modernized MV-22 Osprey aircraft that are ready to serve our dedicated servicemen and women who rely on this essential aviation resource».
The next CC-RAM delivery is expected in early 2020.
«We look forward to having the remaining MV-22 Osprey block «B» aircraft rejoin the fleet in a block «C» configuration», said Kelly.
In November 2019, the U.S. Navy awarded Bell Boeing $146,039,547 to upgrade nine additional MV-22 Osprey aircraft under the CC-RAM program, with work expected to be completed in March 2022.
Antonov Airlines flew four Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters on behalf of Boeing, from Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA), Arizona, USA, to Hindan Airforce Base (VIDX) in India.
An Antonov Airlines AN-124-100, which can accommodate up to five Apache helicopters, transported the aircraft, with a total payload of 39 tonnes/85,980 lbs. including their dismantled rotor blades. The mission proved highly successful.
«The Antonov Airlines team was responsive and willing to support deadlines while applying for the complex overflight permits required for military cargo», said Jon Roland, Boeing Program Manager. «Antonov Airlines partnered with us to secure the required clearance and permissions, creating a cooperative environment to ensure smooth delivery».
The Antonov and Boeing engineers collaborated closely on mission planning in real time during the loading process.
«We worked out how to best use the available space during loading to safely transport the cargo», said Amnon Ehrlich, Commercial Director, Antonov Airlines USA. «We also took into consideration the high summer temperatures in Arizona while planning the move. The loading started in the early hours to avoid the high temperatures. Following a night-time departure, the mission was completed 24 hours later».
Boeing has already contracted Antonov Airlines for further Apache helicopter shipments later this year.
The first submarine-hunting Poseidon MRA1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has been delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is investing £3 billion in nine state-of-the-art jets which will enhance the UK’s tracking of hostile maritime targets, protect the British continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and play a central role in NATO missions across the North Atlantic.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: «The arrival of the world-class Poseidon aircraft marks a step-change in the UK’s maritime patrol capability. Using the world’s most advanced sensors and operating for long periods, these aircraft will transform the quality of intelligence available to our armed forces and protect our vital nuclear deterrent».
Following an unveiling ceremony in Seattle, the aircraft was flown to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville in Florida where RAF personnel are being trained to operate the aircraft.
On arrival Michelle Sanders, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Delivery Team Leader, signed the paperwork to formally transfer the aircraft, named Pride of Moray, to UK ownership.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: «Poseidon is a game-changing maritime patrol aircraft, able to detect, track and if necessary destroy the most advanced submarines in the world today. With Poseidon MRA1, I am delighted and very proud that the Royal Air Force will once again have a maritime patrol force working alongside the Royal Navy, securing our seas to protect our nation».
First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said: «Poseidon marks a superb upgrade in the UK’s ability to conduct anti-submarine operations. This will give the UK the ability to conduct long range patrols and integrate seamlessly with our NATO allies to provide a world-leading capability. This will maintain operational freedom for our own submarines, and apply pressure to those of our potential foes. I look forward to working with the RAF and our international partners on this superb capability».
The Poseidon MRA1 is designed to carry out extended surveillance missions at both high and low altitudes. The aircraft is equipped with cutting-edge sensors which use high-resolution area mapping to find both surface and sub-surface threats.
The aircraft can carry up to 129 sonobuoys, small detection devices which are dropped from the aircraft into the sea to search for enemy submarines. The systems survey the battlespace under the surface of the sea and relay acoustic information via radio transmitter back to the aircraft.
The aircraft will also be armed with Harpoon anti-surface ship missiles and Mk-54 torpedoes capable of attacking both surface and sub-surface targets.
Michelle Sanders, DE&S Delivery Team Leader, said: «Seeing the first Poseidon MRA1 handed over to the Royal Air Force is an incredibly proud moment for all of the team at DE&S. Close, collaborative working with colleagues in Air Capability, the US Navy and industry has helped us deliver this very capable aircraft».
As leading members of NATO, the UK has signed agreements with both the US and Norwegian militaries to cooperate closely on operating their Poseidon fleets across the North Atlantic.
In August this year, Defence Minister Anne Marie-Trevelyan hosted Norwegian State Secretary Tone Skogen at RAF Lossiemouth to deepen the two country’s partnership on the Poseidon programme.
To maintain the skills required to deliver this vital capability, the RAF has embedded aircrew within MPA squadrons in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.
The first aircraft will arrive in Scotland in early 2020, with the fleet to be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray. All nine aircraft will be delivered by November 2021.
The aircraft will be flown initially by 120 Squadron which was originally stood up on 1 January 1918 and was the leading anti-submarine warfare squadron in WWII. 201 Squadron will also join the programme in due course.
The Poseidon MRA1 programme is bringing significant economic benefits to the communities near RAF Lossiemouth. A total of £460 million is being invested in the station to prepare for the arrival of the new aircraft, including the construction of a £132 million strategic facility for the fleet to be completed next year.
The programme will also bring around 700 additional personnel to Moray, taking the total number of employees there to approximately 2,500.
123.6 feet/37.64 m
42.1 feet/12.83 m
129.5 feet/39.47 m
2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station