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  • Consolidated Military Helicopter News

    New Sight for Apache

    Using a bit of creative engineering, Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Orlando missiles unit has come up with a color surveillance system for the U.S. Army's Apache helicopter.

    The latest advance in the Apache's piloting and weapons system brings high-resolution "color to the cockpit," replacing the Apache's longtime black-and-white camera and display, according to Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control.

    Hundreds of jobs are tied to Apache work in Orlando, where Lockheed Missiles employs more than 4,000.

    Lockheed calls the color-camera technology a "game changer" for the Apache. The new system performs visually detailed battlefield surveillance and provides tactical superiority in the air and on the ground, company officials say.

    When the system rolls out later this month, Apache will become the first military helicopter to use a high-definition color camera, Lockheed said. The Navy's Cobra chopper already uses a color camera, but it is less advanced than Lockheed's, the company said.

    Lockheed has posted a YouTube video showing the "before and after" difference of using color imagery below:

    The color camera is part of an overall modernization of the Apache's Target Acquisition, Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor, also known as Arrowhead. The advances also include new infrared-imaging navigation, laser designation and weapons-guidance equipment.

    "The fully modernized M-TADS/PNVS will significantly enhance situational awareness for the Apache crews, and be a decisive factor in the successful execution of their missions," said Matt Hoffman, Lockheed's director of the Apache weapons-system work, in a prepared statement.

    Imagery helps ID key details

    Military aviation expert Dan Macchiarella, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said the addition of color-camera tech to the Apache cockpit is a significant development.

    For decades, pilots and gunners have missed the benefits of full-color display as they relied more and more on infrared-imaging tech for night-vision and weapons-guidance capabilities, said the former Apache pilot. Often in the past, infrared images lacked enough resolution to identify critical details, like friendly versus enemy forces, he said.

    "This initiative to modernize Apache puts the color back on the screen," Macchiarella said. "The images are clear, very clear, and clear is good, especially when it comes to the battlefield."

    Lockheed Missiles received two Army contracts worth a combined $161.7 million last year to produce the color-camera systems and related upgrades.

    The contracts support Lockheed's work in Orlando and Ocala through the third quarter of 2016, company officials said.

    Lockheed sets goals for 2014

    Lockheed listed its rollout of the new Apache system as one of the key milestones for its Orlando operations this year. Among its other goals:

    •Flight-testing the air- and surface-launched versions of a potentially lucrative program called the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, an advanced cruise missile for the Navy and Air Force.
    •Continuing development of technology for the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, with an eye to future contract competitions.
    •Providing training and logistics systems for a new F-35 pilot training center in Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.
    •Expanding its weapons sales to U.S. allies – already a multibillion-dollar market for its missiles and simulation training equipment.

    "We see a strong international market for Central Florida Lockheed Martin programs," the company said in a statement. "We expect to secure additional orders for our tactical missile and sensor systems products in 2014, with a large share of the development and production work occurring at the Missiles and Fire Control facility in Orlando.

    "Our U.S. and international customers are also finding value in simulation to meet budget challenges, and Lockheed Martin is continuing to develop new technologies that increase the realism and effectiveness of simulation for training," the company said.,0,1893546.story

  • #2
    Black Hawk helicopter finds safety in residential area

    It seemed like a normal Sunday for Stacey Schrader and her family as they went to church. When they returned to their Lilburn home however, there was something not quite right about what they saw.

    “There were two Black Hawk helicopters in the field across from our house,” she said in a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Gwinnett County police said one of the helicopters had to make an emergency landing near the 4800 block of Five Forks Trickum Road. A Georgia National Guard spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News that a cockpit warning light came on.

    Gwinnett County police said a helicopter had to make an emergency landing near the 4800 block of Five Forks Trickum Road

    Police said no injuries were reported and a second helicopter arrived to assist the temporarily disabled bird.

    The pilots were able the fly the helicopter back to Clay National Guard Center, officials told Channel 2.

    “Our neighbors were home when it happened,” Schrader said. “They said the helicopter seemed to lose control just about five feet above the pine tree at the corner of our house.”

    Schrader said her neighbors watched the helicopter bounce a few times before it finally settled into the field across from her home.
    Police were on the scene directing traffic as the Schraders returned home. She said there were soldiers working on the aircraft and before she knew it, both helicopters flew away.

    “I guess they fixed it,” she said. “But coming home to a military helicopter across from the house is quite odd.”


    • #3
      Next up for drones: Transformer-style helicopters

      A new wing, so to speak, of military unmanned aircraft could be Transformer-like vehicles that can be fitted for different missions and serve soldiers in rugged terrain.

      The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES), currently in the third and final stage of design, would have tilted duct fans that would allow it to take off and land in about half the space required by a helicopter of the same size, according to DARPA. ARES would have swappable modules each designed for a specific purpose — cargo pickup and delivery, casualty extraction or airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

      The aircraft could carry up to 3,000 pounds, more than 40 percent of its own weight, and be controlled by troops via apps on mobile phones or rugged tablets. In addition to its vertical capabilities, it could fly at speeds up to 200 knots, according to Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, which is developing ARES along with Piasecki Aircraft.

      The motivation behind the program, launched in 2009 as Transformer (TX), was to provide vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities for small units in rugged terrains, DARPA said. There aren’t always enough helicopters to serve every unit, and helicopters might not always suited to certain situations.

      “ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units,” said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager. “Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success.”

      ARES would have a flight module with a self-contained power system, digital flight controls and remote command-and-control interfaces, DARPA said. The first iteration would be unmanned, with semi-autonomous flight and optional manned/controlled flight possible later.

      After soliciting ideas for Transformer (TX), DARPA in 2013 chose the ARES design. It might not look much like the Transformers in the movies, but the design concept does reflect the general idea of a single craft that can be converted for different missions, such as taking cargo from a ship to units in the field, evacuating injured soldiers or supplying ISR to individual units or a command.


      • #4
        Are female flyers better?

        Ten out of every 100 Army helicopter pilots are women—but they account for only three out of every 100 accidents.

        That’s the bottom line in an Army report that, in an effort to study the impact of women on the front lines, compares accident rates of men and women flying Army helicopters from 2002 to 2013.

        The revelation is included in Army Major Seneca Peña-Collazo’s report, Women in Combat Arms: A Study of the Global War on Terror, which he published last May while a student at the School of Advanced Military Studies at the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.:

        This research shows that over a decade of women serving in direct combat alongside their male counterparts, there is no significant stigma or other prohibitive factors that would degrade the effectiveness or lethality of attack aviation units in combat. With technology making warfare increasingly a remote task, the belief that women are unable to effectively perform in direct combat roles is becoming an obsolete paradigm that will fade into obsolescence.

        Peña-Collazo, an AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship pilot, suggests female Army gunship pilots can serve as a kind of Petri dish on the issue of how female troops can perform on the front lines:

        In general, women are involved in less aircraft accidents than all male crews—comprising only 3% of incidents. As women comprise roughly 10% of all aviators, the evidence suggests that women may operate aircraft more safely. As it pertains to just AH-64 aircraft, 100% of all accidents, both in garrison and in theater, involve all male crews, at least suggesting that female attack pilots may be even more safe in the performance of flight duties.
        Read more: Female Army Helicopter Pilots Crash Less Often | TIME.com


        • #5
          Turkey signs agreement of utility helicopter with Sikorsky

          Turkish PM Erdogan said that the 109 general purpose helicopters are valued at US$3.5 billion.

          Turkey has signed an agreement with US-based Sikorsky for a general purpose helicopter, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

          S-70 Black Hawk International (Photo: Sikorsky Aircraft)

          Erdogan said that the 109 general purpose helicopters are valued at US$3.5 billion.

          The agreement has taken over one year and half to finalize, due to ongoing negotiations.

          In 2011, Turkey selected Sikorsky Aircraft as its partner company to lead the production of the country’s next-generation of utility helicopters, the Turkish version of S-70 Black Hawk International.


          • #6
            Pentagon's FVL Programme Takes Off

            (Reuters) - The Pentagon is committed to early design work on a new aircraft that will replace thousands of helicopters now used by the U.S. military, its first "clean sheet design" program in years, the Army official heading the effort said on Friday.

            Dan Bailey, a former Apache helicopter pilot who heads the "Future Vertical Lift" (FVL) program and the research effort under way to explore possible approaches, said there was no push to reduce funding for the program, despite pressure on nearly every other arms program in the Pentagon's portfolio.

            "The science and technology effort is supported 100 percent," Bailey told reporters at a conference hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army, an Army booster group. "That's significant on its own. There is no other portfolio that is not feeling a significant cut."

            U.S. weapons makers have expressed concern that big cuts in military spending could undermine the program, one of very few new research and development efforts seen in decades, but Army officials last week said the effort was a key priority.

            Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu and General Dennis Via, who heads Army Materiel Command, both underscored their support for the program in speeches at the conference.

            Bailey said Pentagon budget officials left funding intact for the "joint multirole" technology demonstration project, the precursor to the future vertical lift aircraft, a program that analysts say could be worth upwards of $100 billion.

            He said the Pentagon expected to spend $354 million between 2011 and 2019 on the science and technology phase, but declined to estimate what the later development program would be worth.

            Current plans call for an analysis of possible approaches for the new rotorcraft in 2016 or 2017, followed by a decision to move forward around 2018 and a contract award around 2020.

            Ultimately, the program will replace between 2,000-4,000 medium class UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp andBoeing Co AH-64 attack helicopters after 2030.

            He said details were still being worked out for funding the subsequent production program, but it would not require major funding until it enters production around 2029 or 2030.


            The Army last year chose four industry teams to do early work on concepts for a new vertical lift aircraft, and will winnow the field later this year, although it insists that the actual production program will involve another competition.

            The four are Textron Inc's Bell Helicopter unit, which is teamed with Lockheed Martin Corp; Sikorsky, teamed with Boeing; AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft.

            Bailey told Reuters in an interview later that his office was trying to learn from mistakes made on earlier complex arms programs, including Lockheed's F-35 fighter program, which is also being developed for use by a number of military services.

            He said the key to success was starting early and working closely with industry to understand what technology solutions were possible, rather than pre-determining the outcome.

            The Army is focused heavily on getting affordable aircraft that will be cheaper and easier to maintain than current helicopters, he said.

            The program also works closely with the "Vertical Lift Consortium," an industry group that includes a broad array of suppliers involved in the sector. Bailey said members of the group's executive board participate in high-level meetings on the program at the Pentagon, along with senior officers.

            "We want to make sure that we're a team; that we're all aligned and that we're moving in the same direction," he said. "We understand that if we don't have that industrial partner base, then the next-generation vertical lift will not be available to us 60 years from now."

            He said work on the technology concepts was already re-energizing industry, prompting companies to hire new engineers, and revamp and update their computer-based design tools.

            "This is the next big thing," said Sam Mehta, president of Sikorsky's Defense Systems and Services division.

            He said Sikorsky's collaboration with Boeing on the program was going well. "We are developing things with Boeing that neither of us could have developed on our own or in the same period of time."


            • #7
              More Apache Orders for Boeing

              WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co has won a contract valued at $1.16 billion for full-rate production of the AH-64E Apache helicopter, the U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday.

              It said the contract included 72 remanufactured helicopter systems, 10 new helicopters, six revamped crew trainers and other logistics support.

              The contract runs through June 30, 2016, the Pentagon said in its daily digest of major weapons contracts.


              • #8
                Airbus Woos US Defense Market

                Armed with a new name, officials from Airbus Group (the European aerospace and defense corporation formerly known as EADS) are hoping a new name will help open up sales opportunities with the U.S. military.

                "EADS was always a kind of unwieldy thing,” said Tom Ender, Airbus Group’s chief executive during a March 7 roundtable with reporters. "We never succeeded in making it a really strong brand, so it was only logical after this reorganization … that we adapt the Airbus brand, which is known all over the world and is the strongest brand for the entire group."

                The Airbus UH-72A Lakota became the United States Army's new Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) in 2006 and was one of the US government's largest helicopter supply contracts. Critics believe the contract should have gone to a US manufacturer but Airbus say the US government must be willing to award contracts to global suppliers if they want US firms to be respected in the global market

                EADS, or European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., included holdings such as Airbus, helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter and missile manufacturer MBDA. Officials announced last year that the company would take the name of its most profitable brand, Airbus. It is now made of three divisions: Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus Helicopter.

                While the company has long been a giant worldwide in the commercial aerospace market, it is still emerging as a major presence in the U.S. defense industry.

                The rebranding will pave the way for Airbus to court Congress, a process that was difficult in the past, said Allan McArtor, chairman and CEO of Airbus Group’s North American unit. EADS was “as a brand, almost a threatening name up on Capitol Hill."

                Company officials know that the U.S. defense budget is declining, but it’s still the largest in the world, he added. “We want to be opportunistic about taking our share,” even if it is “a smaller pie.”

                One Airbus helicopter, the UH-72 Lakota, is almost certainly going to improve the company's prospects in the United States. The Army National Guard currently flies the Lakota, and the Army’s fiscal year 2015 budget recommended replacing TH-67s with UH-72s.

                "It has low acquisition costs, low lifecycle costs and low maintenance cost and is a very reliable program for performance. So the guys on the ground, the operators are really happy with the Lakota program,” McArtor said. "To me it's not surprising at all that they wanted to not only continue that program, but to potentially expand that program into the training mission as well.”

                The Army’s fiscal year 2015 budget requested $416 million for 55 Lakotas, more than doubling its fiscal year 2014 procurement of 20 helicopters at $171 million. The Army plans to buy 45 more aircraft in fiscal year 2016.

                McArtor believes the Army’s demand could increase even beyond that, he said. “I’m quite confident that if we’re able to sustain the reliability and performance and the confidence of the operators in that platform, that it will have very long legs as a program.”

                Airbus’s Columbus, Miss.- facility can produce a maximum of 55 Lakota helicopters per year under its current contract. To date, its highest rate of production has been 53 in a year, according to James Darcy, an Airbus spokesman.

                In the upcoming weeks, Airbus will deliver its 300th Lakota to the Army, McArtor said.

                The Army has seemingly abandoned its armed aerial scout helicopter competition to replace the Kiowa Warrior, but McArtor believes the service should revisit that decision.

                “We think … that it would be very valuable for the Army to go ahead and run a competition,” he said. “It would cost them … $10 [million] to $12 million maybe to run the competition, but at least that gives them the knowledge base with which they could look over the next decade and understand" whether it’s more affordable to use the Apache for the armed reconnaissance role or to buy a new aircraft.

                Last year, EADS North America withdrew from the Army’s joint multi-role demonstrator program to focus on the armed aerial scout competition, for which it offered a weaponized version of the Lakota. JMR is intended to mature advanced, innovative rotorcraft technologies and is a precursor to the future vertical lift program — a series of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that will replace the service’s current helicopter fleet.

                As one of the few manufacturers who has built prototype rotorcraft that can exceed speeds of 200 knots, EADS was considered one of leading companies in the competition.

                Even though Airbus is not participating in joint multi-role, it could decide to enter the future vertical lift competition later on, Darcy said.

                “When you look at the way the [JMR] requirements are defined or the way requirements were not defined, it really leaves it open for industry to go out and to do their development independently,” he said.

                McArtor said the company is pursuing a “very aggressive” research-and-development program for next-generation helicopter technologies for both the commercial and defense industries.

                One contract that the company probably isn’t interest in is the Air Force One fixed-wing aircraft replacement.

                “Airbus could put together a dramatic candidate for Air Force One. It’s a tough business case though to say that you want to compete for that” because it's such a small fleet, McArtor said. “I would find it unlikely that we would find that attractive, but we’ll have to see what the [request for proposals] will look like.”


                • #9

                  This photo was released by The Royal Malaysian Navy of a Royal Malaysian Navy Fennec helicopter preparing to depart a helicopter carrier to aid in the search and rescue efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines 77 in the Straits of Malacca, Malaysia, Thursday, March 13, 2014


                  • #10
                    New Sensor Protects Army Helicopters From Small Arms

                    The U.S. Army is in the early phases of a fleet-wide technology upgrade of its Common Missile Warning System, or CMWS — helicopter sensors that can provide detection against small arms fire in addition to missile threats.

                    So far, the Army has ordered 1,300 CMWS Generation 3 systems, technology which improves the processing power of the original system to add small arms fire detection technology, said Bill Staib, director of threat management solutions, BAE.

                    The existing or prior CMWS technology, now installed across the Army’s helicopter fleet of Apaches, Chinooks, Kiowas and others, places five ultraviolet sensors around the skin of the aircraft in order to detect incoming missiles.

                    The sensors are connected to an on-board computer, called an electronic control unit, which then helps the helicopter change course to avoid the missile or send out flares to divert the incoming threat off course.

                    “CMWS Gen 3 gives us a significant improvement in the processing capability which allows us to do a lot more with the software. With a lot more processing power we not only have the latest missile warning algorithms but also have the hostile fire indication allowing us to detect small arms fire and RPGs,” Staib explained.

                    With the additional processing power, the UV sensors are able to provide information about multiple classes of small arms fire, including RPGs, he added.

                    CMWS Gen 3, which does not add any additional hardware or weight to the system, is engineered at a BAE facility in Nashua, N.H. So far, the systems are installed on more than 200 aircraft in Afghanistan, a fielding effort which began in October of last year, Staib said.

                    BAE has delivered about 400 of the 1300 CMWS Gen 3 systems ordered so far and plans to outfit the entire Army fleet of about 2,000 CMWS systems.

                    CMWS Gen 3 was live-fire tested by the Army last summer and in 2012, Staib added.

                    The system is also configured to integrate with the Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures, or CIRCM, a lightweight sensor and laser-jammer system designed to identify incoming missiles and throw them off course.


                    • #11
                      Airbus Helicopters delivers first production Cougar AS532 ALe to Chile

                      Airbus Helicopters delivered its first production Cougar AS532 ALe aircraft to the Chilean Army this week at an international airshow in Santiago.

                      "This is an important day for Chilean aviation," said General Sergio Retamal, aviation commander for the Chilean Army, or Ejército de Chile. "We are very proud to be the first operator of this new version of the Cougar. The Lamas we once flew were replaced by Pumas and now Cougars.

                      "Thanks to these aircraft, we are a reliable ally for rescue operations and natural disaster response, among other missions."

                      The Cougar AS532 AL is a multi-role helicopter with two Turbomeca Makila 1a1 turboshaft engines, a maximum speed of 150 knots and a service ceiling of more than 19,000 feet. For military operations it can carry 25 fully equipped soldiers and can be outfitted with pod-mounted cannons and rocket launchers. It can also be used for search-and-rescue operations and medical evacuation.

                      The “ALe” variant of the aircraft features the same four-axis autopilot and new avionics glass cockpit as that of the company’s the EC225 Super Puma.

                      The Chilean Army flies eight AL variants of the helicopter.


                      • #12
                        Bell 412 for Philippines

                        Canada has signed a $105 million contract with the Philippines to supply eight military helicopters made by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, a unit of Textron Inc, Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast said on Friday.

                        The contract was negotiated under a memorandum of understanding between the Philippines military and Ottawa's government-to-government contracting organization, the Canadian Commercial Corp.

                        Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that memorandum during his visit to Manila in November 2012. The choppers are to be made in Quebec over the next two years.


                        • #13
                          Qatar Opens Purse

                          Qatar announced contracts worth about $23 billion on Thursday to buy attack helicopters, guided missiles, tankers and other weapons from Boeing Co, Airbus and other arms makers as the Gulf state accelerates its military build-up.

                          24 Apaches (plus additional types) are bound for Qatar

                          The world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter announced deals with about 20 global companies, including firms from the United States which were awarded deals worth 27.5 billion riyals ($7.6 billion), said a spokeswoman for a Doha defense conference where the announcements were made.

                          The weapons purchases include large deals with Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others.

                          Qatar, and other Gulf Arab and Middle Eastern countries are looking to acquire new high-tech military equipment to protect themselves from neighboring Iran and internal threats after the Arab Spring uprising.

                          Boeing confirmed that the announcement included a contract to buy 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and three Boeing 737 Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

                          The deal for the helicopters was valued at 8.9 billion riyals, said the spokeswoman for the conference.

                          In Paris, France's Defense Ministry said Qatar had agreed to buy 22 NH90 military helicopters from a unit of European aerospace group Airbus worth 2 billion euros ($2.76 billion) and two Airbus-made refueling tankers.


                          • #14
                            AgustaWestland Pitches AW119 for US Navy Helicopter Trainer

                            Helicopter maker AgustaWestland is touting the capabilities of its American-built AW119Kx as a candidate to replace the US Navy’s current fleet of training choppers.

                            The helicopter, which is used commercially by police departments and medical evacuation services, could meet the Navy or other service training needs more cheaply than existing military helicopters, company officials said.

                            “There’s no real active [government] solicitations out right now, so we’re trying to incubate something, whether it’s with the Navy, the Coast Guard, [Customs and Border Protection], the Air Force [or] Army,” Robert LaBelle, CEO of AgustaWestland North America, said Monday during a briefing at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space convention.

                            AW119 Trainer being offered to the US Navy

                            The single-engine aircraft, which is a derivative of the twin-engine AW109, features a modern design, redundant systems and is “forgiving to a new student,” LaBelle said. The high-end civilian model costs about $3.5 million, a price that would likely decrease with a bulk buy.

                            The AW119Kx, called the Koala, is built solely at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia production facility. AgustaWestland North America is a subsidiary of Italian-based AgustaWestland, which is part of Italy’s Finmeccanica aerospace and defense group.

                            The AW119Kx would not need any modifications to enter military service, LaBelle said.

                            The Navy operates just more than 100 Bell 206 Jet Rangers, which are used for helicopter training. The service is in the study phase to determine its future helicopter training needs.

                            “It really is time for them to replace them,” LaBelle said, of the current Navy helicopter trainers, which the service calls TH-57 Sea Rangers.

                            The US Army flies the twin-engine Airbus UH-72 Lakota for stateside missions and plans to buy 100 new aircraft for helicopter training. The Lakota would likely be a competitor when the Navy replaces its training helicopters.

                            The US military does not operate any AgustaWestland helicopters. LaBelle said he has been working to shed light on AgustaWestland’s US presence and portfolio of helicopters.

                            As US defense spending contracts in the coming years, LaBelle said the Defense Department should look at different types of platforms and industrial partners.

                            He touted the company’s $600 million yearly investment in research-and-development projects, and its growing commercial sales.


                            • #15
                              Netherlands Commits Three Chinooks to Mali Task Force

                              After committing four Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopters in November last year to support the UN's stabilisation activities in Mali, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has announced it will also deploy three Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters.

                              RNAF Chinooks

                              The reason behind the expanding deployment is that the UN cannot guarantee the medical evacuation of Dutch forces on a "24-7" basis. Currently-available civilian helicopters are unable to operate at night or in high-risk areas, due to a lack of self-protection capabilities.

                              Expected to arrive in the second half of this year, the Dutch Chinooks will be stationed in Gao. In addition to medical evacuation tasks, the rotorcraft will also be used for tactical transport and logistical support. The nation's defence ministry says the cost of committing the additional aircraft is estimated at about €45 million ($62 million).

                              French helicopters participating in the nation's Operation Serval campaign in Mali will support Dutch ground forces until the Chinooks arrive.


                              • #16
                                Ssang Yong 2014

                                Exercise Ssang Yong 2014, designed to enhance interoperability between US and South Korean forces, has been underway in South Korea and has been a success according to South Korean military sources.

                                A Bell AH-1 SuperCobra helicopter flies overhead while Korean forces and US Marines stage a mock amphibious landing during Exercise Ssang Yong 2014 on Doksoek-ri in Pohang, South Korea on March 29, 2014 (Photo: Master Sgt. Michael Schellenbach)


                                • #17
                                  Malaysia Considering Attack Helicopter

                                  Anticipation of a potential Malaysian attack helicopter tender remains high, with candidate platforms from Bell, Airbus Helicopters and Boeing to be showcased at the Defence Services Asia expo in Kuala Lumpur.

                                  An increase in insurgent activity across Malaysia has placed the country’s lack of helicopter offensive capabilities under the spotlight, prompting the Malaysian Army to begin assessing suitable platforms.

                                  Boeing and Airbus Helicopters have been offering the AH-6 Little Bird and EC665 Tiger respectively, while Bell is promoting both the UH-1Y and AH-1Z Cobra helicopters.

                                  The Bell AH-1Z is one of several attack helicopters being offered to Malaysia

                                  There is some speculation as to whether AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will compete with their jointly-developed T-29 attack helicopter, although the companies have offered no comment to date.

                                  At present, the Malaysian forces have no attack helicopter in their inventories, relying instead on fast-moving fighter aircraft.

                                  While a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) has yet to be announced, industry expectations of a forthcoming tender are based on plans by the Malaysian Army Air Corps (AAC) to incorporate an attack element into its AAC tactical transport helicopter squadron, in order to combat terrorists and armed insurgents.

                                  An incursion by Sulu militants into eastern Malaysia in 2013 provided early impetus for the acquisition of an attack helicopter capability for the AAC. However, recent funding shortages have called the viability of the programme into question.

                                  In the face of a reduced military budget, the need to acquire costly dedicated attack helicopters to counter the comparatively lightly-armed militant threat across Malaysia may have been de-prioritised.

                                  Regardless, attack helicopters appear to remain part of the AAC's long-term development plan.

                                  Airbus Helicopters has taken the EC665 Tiger attack helicopter to the past two Langkawi Airshows in an effort to appeal to the Malaysian market, and has also carried out flight demonstrations of the aircraft in-country.

                                  Boeing has high hopes for the AH-6 Little Bird for the requirement and is likely to offer this aircraft as its response to the release of the RfP, rather than the more complex AH-64 Apache, which was originally under consideration for the requirement.

                                  The Apache has seen regional successes with Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, with Indonesia and India also in the process of acquiring them.


                                  • #18
                                    Ghana Seeks Russian Assistance for Helicopter Maintenance Centre

                                    The Ghana Air Force is in discussion with its Russian counterpart for the establishment of a helicopter servicing centre in Ghana, President John Dramani Mahama has announced.

                                    When operational, Ghana will become the centre for servicing helicopters in West Africa.

                                    The President made this known when the outgoing Russian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Vladimir Barbin, called on him at the Flagstaff House on Friday to say goodbye after more than four years official duty in Ghana.

                                    President Mahama said the defence co-operation between the two countries had in recent times seen Russia supporting Ghana to acquire four new MI 17 helicopters, which were assisting in peacekeeping operations in Côte d'Ivoire, and medical activities in Ghana. Bilateral

                                    President Mahama noted with delight that Russia was one of the first countries that established bilateral relations with Ghana after independence in 1957 and since then, the bond of relations has been very cordial.


                                    • #19
                                      Czech Military Eyes New Multipurpose Helicopters

                                      The Czech Armed Forces are aiming to acquire 16 new multipurpose helicopters. Deliveries are scheduled to take place from 2016 to 2020, reported local news agency CTK.

                                      Lt. Gen. Petr Pavel, chief of the General Staff, said the new helicopters are designed to replace the Czech military’s Russian-built Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 helos. Under the plan, the aircraft will be withdrawn from service between 2016 and 2018.

                                      The Czech Republic plans to acquire new helicopters to replace its Mi-35s and Mi-24s​

                                      “After this period, we will not maintain [the helicopters] in service because their overhaul and servicing would cost us money that we simply don’t want to spend,” Pavel said.

                                      The new helicopters are to be outfitted for use in a wide range of operations, including combat, transport, search-and-rescue and medical evacuation missions, according to the general.

                                      Pavel did not disclose which helicopter is most likely to be ordered by the Czech Republic, but said there are six manufacturers whose aircraft are of interest to the military.

                                      The Czech military helicopter fleet consists of W-3A Sokol helicopters manufactured by AgustaWestland’s Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik, and Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-24 and Mi-35 copters built by the state-owned Moscow Mil helicopter plant.

                                      The amount of the planned purchase was not disclosed by the general. The Czech Defense Ministry was allocated a budget of 41.99 billion krona (US $2.11 billion) for 2014.


                                      • #20
                                        First T129's Join Turkey's Military Inventory

                                        The Undersecretariat of the Defense Industry announced that the first T129 ATAK Raid Helicopter (ARH), which is the first domestically produced helicopter, was included in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces on April 22.

                                        ​T129's now part of Turkey's military inventory

                                        The T129 ARH helicopter with two crews has two LHTEC CTS800-4ATurboshaft engines, each of which has a power of 1.360 horsepower and is able to reach a maximum speed of 288 kilometers an hour. With a maximum take-off weight of 5,000 kilograms, the helicopter has coverage of 556 kilometers. Carrying artillery of 500 projectiles of 20 millimeters on the nose, the T129 ARH helicopter can project 76 missiles with four pods under the wings.


                                        • #21
                                          Turkish Army Helicopter Hit

                                          A Turkish army helicopter came under fire on Tuesday in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, security officials said.

                                          ​File photo

                                          Two shots hit the helicopter, which was carrying national high school entrance exam papers, in the Lice district. Officials said no one was hurt and the helicopter landed safely at a local gendarmerie command. Security officers say they have launched an operation to capture the assailants.


                                          • #22
                                            Indonesia Considers Airbus ASW Panther

                                            The Indonesian navy is in negotiations with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) for the acquisition of between 11-16 Airbus AS565 Panther anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. “I can confirm we are talking to the Indonesian government about the Panther, but the numbers are in limbo,” said PTDI vice president of marketing and sales Arie Wibowo. He says the Indonesian Navy requires a minimum of 11 aircraft, but could obtain 16.

                                            Airbus AS565 Panther ASW, soon to fly for the Indonesian Navy

                                            Wibowo adds that the contract could be signed by the end of 2014. Deliveries will commence 12 months after the deal is signed and be completed within two years – although this could vary depending on the mission package to be used aboard the aircraft.

                                            If a contract is signed, PTDI will receive green aircraft from Airbus Helicopters, and then be responsible for installing the aircraft’s various mission systems at its Bandung facility. Wibowo says the amount of local content provided by the AS565 helped it defeat the other helicopter considered - the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300.

                                            The AS565 can operate from both warships and land bases, according to Airbus.

                                            Since 2008 PTDI has produced airframes for the AS332 Super Puma helicopter at its Bandung factory and in the last three decades PTDI has undertaken the licensed production of the BO105 light helicopter, and Puma SA330 transport helicopter.

                                            In November 2013, PTDI delivered the first Indonesian-produced main fuselage for the EC225/725 helicopter for Airbus.


                                            • #23
                                              UK MoD Issues RFP for Squirrel Trainer Replacement

                                              The UK Ministry of Defence has kicked off the acquisition process to replace its fleet of 34 Airbus AS350 B3 Squirrel HT1 trainers.

                                              Although the MoD declines to reveal details of its request for proposals, an article in the Desider magazine published by its Defence Equipment & Support procurement body reveals that the document has been “issued to six companies”.

                                              The MoD anticipates selecting the winning bid in 2016, with the new service to become operational in 2018, it says. Flight training will be “supported by a complementary range of ground-based equipment” to be based at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire, it adds.

                                              Training will be delivered through the Military Flying Training System programme run by Ascent, the Babcock and Lockheed Martin joint venture, which will take over the rotary-wing syllabus from Cobham-owned FB Heliservices when its contract with the Defence Helicopter Flying School expires in 2018.

                                              Airbus Helicopters in July indicated it would offer a mix of EC130 and EC135 single- and twin-engined types to third-party bidders including Cobham, Elbit Systems and Serco, alongside a likely bid as prime contractor through its UK subsidiary. However, it declines to comment further.

                                              Competition will come from AgustaWestland, which says it has “supplied data” on a number of its helicopters to interested parties, although it will not bid itself.

                                              It is not known which rotorcraft the Anglo-Italian firm is proposing, although an advert from the manufacturer in the same publication shows a skid-equipped AW109 Trekker light-single in UK training livery.