Tag Archives: Boeing

Maiden Flight

The first Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker destined for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) took to the skies on its maiden flight on February 8, 2021. This successful flight highlights an important milestone as the aircraft now transitions into the certification phase of development.

KC-46 Pegasus
First KC-46 Pegasus for an international customer completes successful first flight

«This is an exciting milestone for the JASDF and Boeing», said Jamie Burgess, KC-46 Pegasus program manager. «Japan is getting closer to receiving the most advanced air refueling tanker in the world».

Japan is the KC-46 Pegasus program’s first international customer and is scheduled to receive its first jet this year.

«Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus and its robust defensive systems will play an invaluable role in the security alliance between our two countries», said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. «This tanker’s ability to carry cargo and passengers also makes it a critical tool to support humanitarian relief efforts across the Pacific region and beyond».

The KC-46 Pegasus refueling certification encompasses U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and JASDF aircraft.

Boeing is assembling KC-46A Pegasus aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett, Washington. Boeing’s Japanese partners produce 16% of the KC-46 Pegasus airframe structure.

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. 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.

 

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

 

First Flight

The new Boeing F-15EX Strike Eagle fighter jet completed its first flight on February 2, 2021, paving the way for the early delivery of the first two jets to the U.S. Air Force later this quarter. The jet took off and landed from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, completing a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport.

F-15EX Strike Eagle
The F-15EX Strike Eagle fighter jet demonstrates a vertical «Viking» departure during its first flight on February 2, 2021 (Boeing photo by Eric Shindelbower)

Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Matt Giese checked out the multirole jet’s avionics, advanced systems and software. A test team monitoring the data collected during the flight in real time confirmed that the aircraft performed as planned.

«Today’s successful flight proves the jet’s safety and readiness to join our nation’s fighter fleet», said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. «Our workforce is excited to build a modern fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. Our customer can feel confident in its decision to invest in this platform that is capable of incorporating the latest advanced battle management systems, sensors and weapons due to the jet’s digital airframe design and open mission systems architecture».

The fighter’s digital backbone means it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion, a key capability for the Air Force. Modern variants of the F-15 also include fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-new digital cockpit, modern Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and the ADCP-II, the world’s fastest mission computer. The F-15EX Strike Eagle, the most advanced version to date, features the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System electronic warfare system to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators.

In July, the Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to build the first lot of eight jets. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.

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. 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.

Attack Helicopters

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Kuwait of AH-64E Apache Helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $4.0 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on December 29, 2020.

AH-64E Apache
AH-64E Apache Helicopter

The Government of Kuwait has requested to buy eight (8) AH-64E Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters and remanufacture sixteen (16) of their AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters to the AH-64E configuration consisting of:

  • eight (8) AH-64E Apache Helicopters (new procurement);
  • sixteen (16) AH-64E Apache Helicopters (remanufacture);
  • twenty-two (22) T700-GE 701D engines;
  • thirty-six (36) remanufactured T700-GE 701D engines;
  • twenty-seven (27) AN/AAR-57 Counter Missile Warning Systems (CMWS);
  • eighteen (18) Embedded Global Position Systems with Inertial Navigation (EGI) with Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR);
  • thirty-six (36) remanufactured EGIs with MMR;
  • eight (8) AN/ASQ-170(V) Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/AN/AAQ-11 Pilot Night Vision Sensor (MTADS/PNVS);
  • seventeen (17) AN/APG-78 Longbow Fire Control Radars (FCR) with Radar Electronics Units (REU);
  • seventeen (17) APR-48B Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers (M-RFI);
  • eighteen (18) M299 AGM-114 Hellfire Missile Launchers;
  • four (4) remanufactured M299 AGM-114 Hellfire Missile Launchers;
  • eighteen (18) Hydra 70 (70-mm) 2.75 Inch Rocket M260 Rocket Launchers; four (4) remanufactured Hydra 70 (70-mm) 2.75 Inch Rocket M260 Rocket Launchers;
  • nine (9) M230El 30-mm Chain Gun M139 Area Weapons System (AWS) Guns;
  • two (2) remanufactured M230El 30-mm Chain Gun M139 AWS Guns; one (1) Longbow Crew Trainers (LCT);
  • one (1) remanufactured LCT.

Also included are:

  • fifty-four (54) AN/ARC‑201 non-COMSEC Very-High Frequency/Frequency Modulation (VHF/FM) radios;
  • fifty-four (54) Ultra‑High Frequency (UHF) radios (AN/ARC‑231 or MXF 4027);
  • twenty-eight (28) Identify Friend or Foe Transponders (APX 123 or APX 119);
  • twenty-seven (27) IDM 401 (Improved Data Modem);
  • twenty-seven (27) Link 16 Datalinks; twenty-seven (27) AN/APR-39D (V)2 Radar Warning Receivers;
  • twenty-seven (27) AN/AVR-2 Laser Warning Receivers; twenty-seven (27) Infrared Countermeasures Dispensers (2 flares, 1 chaff);
  • nine (9) ASN-157 Doppler Radar Velocity Sensors;
  • nine (9) AN/ARN-149 (V)3 Automatic Direction Finders (ADF);
  • sixteen (16) remanufactured AN/ARN-149 (V)3 ADFs;
  • nine (9) AN/APN-209 Radar Altimeters;
  • twenty-seven (27) AN/ARN-153 Tactical Airborne Navigation (TACAN) systems;
  • sixteen (16) Manned-Unmanned Teaming International (MUM-Ti) (UPR) Air to Air to Ground Data Link Systems;
  • twenty-four (24) MUM-Ti (Ground) Air to Air to Ground Data Link Systems;
  • twenty-four (24) 100 gallon Internal Auxiliary Fuel Systems (IAFS);
  • twenty-four (24) 125 gallon Reduced Capacity Crashworthy External Fuel Systems (RCEFS); two (2) IAFS Spares;
  • two (2) IAFS Publications; six (6) IAFS Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Apache Magazine and Auxiliary Tank Transfer Systems (AMATTS);
  • five (5) IDM Software Loader Verifiers (SLV);
  • training devices;
  • helmets;
  • simulators;
  • generators;
  • transportation;
  • wheeled vehicles and organizational equipment;
  • spare and repair parts;
  • support equipment;
  • tools and test equipment;
  • technical data and publications;
  • personnel training and training equipment;
  • S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services;
  • other related elements of logistics support.

The total estimated cost is $4.0 billion.

The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

The proposed sale of the AH-64E Apache helicopters will supplement and improve Kuwait’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing Kuwait’s close air support, armed reconnaissance, and antitank warfare mission capabilities. Kuwait will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors associated with this sale will be The Boeing Company, Mesa, AZ; Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orlando, FL; General Electric, Cincinnati, OH; Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, NY; Longbow Limited Liability Corporation, Orlando, FL; and Raytheon Corporation, Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the temporary assignment of approximately three U.S. Government personnel and five contractor representatives to Kuwait to support delivery of the helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization. In addition, Kuwait has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team (TAFT) to provide in-country pilot and maintenance training. Execution of a TAFT will require a team of twelve additional personnel (one military and eleven contractors) to be deployed to Kuwait for the period of approximately three years.

Two more Poseidon

Air Force’s maritime patrol capability will be boosted with Australia set to acquire two more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and response aircraft, bringing the total fleet size to 14.

P-8A Poseidon
Two more P-8A Poseidon aircraft boosts maritime patrol capability

The Government has also approved sustainment funding for the current approved fleet of three MQ-4C Triton aircraft.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Honorable Linda Reynolds Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) said the announcement is part of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade.

«Together, the P-8A Poseidon and the MQ-4C Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world», Minister Reynolds said. «The P-8A Poseidon is a proven capability that will conduct tasks including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions. These additional aircraft will enhance Air Force’s flexibility to support multiple operations and will play an important role in ensuring Australia’s maritime region is secure for generations to come. The Morrison Government’s continued investment in the P-8A Poseidon program is also creating more Australian jobs and opportunities for Australian small businesses. Several Australian companies are already completing work for Boeing Defence Australia, and industry investment including facilities works is over $1 billion».

The additional P-8A Poseidon aircraft are to be purchased through our existing Cooperative Program with the United States Navy.

Minister Reynolds said being part of the Cooperative Program with the United States Navy allows Australia to share in the benefits of their technical expertise and divide project costs.

«Defence is committed to this cooperative approach; together we are striving to develop this military technology to the highest standards», Minister Reynolds said.

The P-8A Poseidon is a highly versatile, long endurance platform capable of a range of mission types including Maritime Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance and striking targets above and below the ocean’s surface.

The planned integration of the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) into Air Force capability will also allow it to strike adversary surface vessels at significantly increased ranges.

P-8A
Based at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh, the P-8A Poseidon is an important part of Australia’s future maritime patrol and response strategy

 

P-8A Poseidon

The P-8A Poseidon has advanced sensors and mission systems, including a state-of-the-art multi-role radar, high-definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of the AP-3C Orions.

The P-8A Poseidon is built specifically as a military aircraft. It is based on the proven commercial designs of Boeing’s 737-800 fuselage, but has been substantially modified to include:

  • a weapons bay;
  • under wing and under fuselage hard points for weapons;
  • increased strengthening for low level (down to 200 feet/61 m) operations and high angle turns.

The P-8A Poseidon aircraft has an extensive communications system including radios and data links across Very High Frequency (VHF), Ultra High Frequency (UHF), High Frequency (HF) and SATellite COMmunications (SATCOM).

An internal fuel capacity of almost 34 tonnes/74,957 lbs. allows the P-8A Poseidon to conduct low level anti-submarine warfare missions at a distance of greater than 2,000 kilometres/1,243 miles/1,080 NM from base. The P-8A Poseidon will be compatible for air-to-air refueling with the Airbus KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

Poseidon
A RAAF P-8A Poseidon supports sea trials for the HMAS Hobart (DDG-39) in the Gulf St Vincent off the coast of Adelaide

 

Specifications

Manufacturer Boeing
Role Maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and response
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, mission specialists
Engine Two CFM56-7 BE (27) engines each with 27,000 lbs./12,247 kg thrust
Length 129.6 feet/39.5 m
Height 42 feet/12.8 m
Wingspan 123.4 feet/37.6 m
Weight (maximum) 189,201 lbs./85,820 kg
Maximum Speed 490 knots/564 mph/907 km/h
Range 4,050 NM/4,660 miles/7,500 km
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,497 m
Capacity Sonobuoys, 11 weapons stations
Weapons Self-Protection Measures, Lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo, AGM-84 Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles
Learmonth
The spectacular Milky Way dominates the night sky as a No. 11 Squadron P-8A Poseidon sits on the hardstand at RAAF Base Learmonth

Upper Stage

Boeing and NASA have successfully completed a critical design review for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Exploration Upper Stage (EUS), confirming the EUS design for continued development and transition to hardware build. Boeing has already started fabrication activities that will support building the first EUS at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Exploration Upper Stage (EUS)
This artist’s rendering shows the Boeing-built Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) powering the Orion crew vehicle in space after separation from the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage. Boeing has already begun fabrication activities for the first EUS at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the company also builds SLS core stages (Boeing illustration)

The SLS rocket uses staged propulsion to send NASA’s Orion spacecraft and astronauts, plus supplies, to the moon and beyond. The Boeing-built core stage powers the SLS in early flight, eventually separating when the upper stage takes over and provides the power to send crewed vehicles, space habitats and other payloads on to the moon or other deep space destinations.

To accomplish NASA’s Artemis I lunar mission, the Block 1 variant of SLS will use a Boeing/United Launch Alliance Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage with one RL-10 engine to take an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a test flight to the moon. SLS Block 1 rockets will be used for two subsequent crewed flights, including the first human mission to lunar orbit since the Apollo program.

The next version of SLS, Block 1B, will use EUS, which has larger fuel tanks and four RL-10 engines to give it a performance boost. That will allow SLS Block 1B to carry an Orion with a crew of four, as well as more than 10 metric tons of co-manifested payload.

«NASA’s SLS Block 1B with the EUS is capable of sending astronauts and essential supporting cargo to the moon and beyond», said Steve Snell, EUS program manager for Boeing. «EUS was designed for crewed flights from the beginning, and the additional lift capability that comes with the EUS requires fewer flights to enable a sustained human presence in deep space sooner and more safely».

«The moon is 238,000 miles/383,024 km from Earth, and Mars at its closest has been 35 million miles/56,327,040 km away», Snell added. «Transporting crews in the fewest flights, for shorter durations, is the safest approach to human deep-space travel. Only the EUS-powered SLS can carry the Orion, along with the necessary mission cargo, in one launch to the moon – or beyond».

Aerial Refueling Store

Boeing and the U.S. Navy have for the first time flown the MQ-25 T1 test asset with an Aerial Refueling Store (ARS), a significant milestone informing development of the unmanned aerial refueler.

MQ-25
Boeing and the U.S. Navy flew the MQ-25 T1 test asset with an Aerial Refueling Store (ARS) for the first time on December 9, 2020. The successful flight with the Cobham ARS – the same ARS currently used by F/A-18s for air-to-air refueling – tested the aircraft’s aerodynamics with the ARS mounted under the wing. Future flights will continue to test the aerodynamics of the aircraft and the ARS at various points of the flight envelope, eventually progressing to extension and retraction of the hose and drogue used for refueling (Credit: Dave Preston)

The successful 2.5-hour flight with the Cobham ARS – the same ARS currently used by F/A-18s for air-to-air refueling – was designed to test the aircraft’s aerodynamics with the ARS mounted under the wing. The flight was conducted by Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois.

«Having a test asset flying with an ARS gets us one big step closer in our evaluation of how MQ-25 will fulfill its primary mission in the fleet – aerial refueling», said Captain Chad Reed, the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «T1 will continue to yield valuable early insights as we begin flying with F/A-18s and conduct deck handling testing aboard a carrier».

Future flights will continue to test the aerodynamics of the aircraft and the ARS at various points of the flight envelope, eventually progressing to extension and retraction of the hose and drogue used for refueling.

«To see T1 fly with the hardware and software that makes MQ-25 an aerial refueler this early in the program is a visible reminder of the capability we’re bringing to the carrier deck», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 program director. «We’re ensuring the ARS and the software operating it will be ready to help MQ-25 extend the range of the carrier air wing».

The Boeing-owned T1 test asset is a predecessor to the engineering development model aircraft being produced under a 2018 contract award. T1 is being used for early learning and discovery, laying the foundation for moving rapidly into development and test of the MQ-25. Following its first flight last year, T1 accumulated approximately 30 hours in the air before the planned modification to install the ARS.

Earlier this year the Navy exercised an option for three additional MQ-25 air vehicles, bringing the total aircraft Boeing is initially producing to seven. The Navy intends to procure more than 70 aircraft, which will assume the tanking role currently performed by F/A-18s, allowing for better use of the combat strike fighters.

Teaming Flights

Boeing recently completed flight tests with five high-performance surrogate jets operating autonomously in a team at the new Queensland Flight Test Range in Cloncurry, Australia.

Boeing’s Advanced Queensland Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project
The five aircraft took off, completed various formations and landed autonomously as part of the test mission (Boeing photo)

Boeing’s advanced autonomy technology, including on-board command and control and data sharing capabilities, were tested using the 3.4-meter (11-foot) aircraft.

«The tests demonstrated our success in applying artificial intelligence algorithms to ‘teach’ the aircraft’s brain to understand what is required of it», said Emily Hughes, director of Phantom Works International. «The data link capabilities enabled the aircraft to communicate with the other platforms so that they could collaborate to achieve a mission».

Testing lasted 10 days, with aircraft incrementally added until the five operated together. During testing, the aircraft reached speeds of 270 kilometers (167 miles) per hour.

«With the size, number and speed of aircraft used in the test, this is a very significant step for Boeing and industry in the progress of autonomous mission systems technology», Hughes said.

The activity was the final milestone delivered in partnership with the Queensland government as part of Boeing’s Advanced Queensland Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project. During the project, Boeing has worked with over 90 personnel from a number of small-to-medium enterprises including RFDesigns, Amber Technology Ltd., Premier Box, McDermott Aviation and Five Rings Aerospace.

Technology and capabilities proven under this program will form part of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System and future Boeing autonomous platforms.

Wideband SATCOM

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.

Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS)
This artist rendering shows the WGS-11+ satellite, which is being built in El Segundo, California, and will be delivered to the U.S. Space Force in 2024 (Boeing illustration)

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.

‘Fires Up’ Engine

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.

Loyal Wingman
Boeing Australia has completed the engine run on its first Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft as part of ground testing and preparations for first flight (Boeing photo)

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».

Powering on the engine is part of ground testing and preparations for first flight

SOCOM’s Chinook

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.

Boeing recently delivered the first next-generation MH-47G Block II Chinook to U.S. Army Special Operations (Boeing photo)

«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.