Marine Corps, News av-8b harrier, F-35, f-35 joint strike fighter, Harrier, Joint Strike Fighter, JSF, V-22
A reassessment of the U.S. Marine Corps’ plans for the F-35B’s service entry is caused by the delays in vertical landing tests with the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) version of Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter.
Marines insist they will achieve initial operational capability (IOC), with eight ship-qualified aircraft and 20 pilots, by late 2012, which is only six months later than the IOC date set in 2006. But the Air Force and Navy have delayed their IOC dates by three years (until early 2016) because of late aircraft deliveries and a slow-starting flight-test program.
Those 2006 plans called for the F-35B to commence vertical landing tests in early 2008, but that did not happen until early 2010. By now, developmental testing of the Block 1 avionics and weapons package should have been completed, but Block 1 has yet to fly on the F-35. This year should have seen delivery of the third low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch of aircraft, but the two LRIP-1 aircraft are in the factory.
One of the actions following the JSF program’s Nunn-McCurdy breach, disclosed in March, was the launch of a technical baseline review (TBR) that supports a Defense Acquisition Board review of the program in November.
In order for the marines to achieve IOC, the vertical landing test program is the most basic. Only one (BF-1) of the five test F-35Bs is configured for early vertical landing tests, and the plan called for 42 vertical landings before the remaining aircraft fly in powered-lift mode. Due to mechanical and other problems, only a dozen or so landings have been performed, and BF-2 is being modified to join the campaign.
Once the 42-landings point is reached, other B-models are expected to clear the envelope for the next critical events. One is the “ready for training” milestone—the point at which the aircraft type can be flown safely by operational pilots rather than test pilots, and without constant monitoring in the test environment. The third major item is ship qualification trials, which had been set for the first half of 2011.
The TBR is looking at the timescale for moving the program through these steps, and at the criteria set for moving from one to the next. The first assignment for the LRIP-1 aircraft—both Air Force A-models—will be to start training Marine instructors under plans discussed a year ago. Consideration is being given to extending the role of the F-35A in Marine IOC preparations.
At the same time, the concept of operations for the F-35B may be changing. Discussing the future role of the Marines in August, Navy Undersecretary Robert Work noted that the wider use of weapons such as guided rockets and mortars—projected to spread to low-end threats—could end the forward operations performed by Marine AV-8B Harriers, because of the vulnerability of forward arming and refueling points and other improvised bases.
In an amphibious operation, that could confine F-35Bs to the LHA amphibious warfare ships that support Harriers. But Work raised another issue: the increasing pressure on the space and weight capacity of the LHAs, as F-35Bs and V-22s replace aircraft half their weight. Even the new LHA-6/7 America-class ships, being built without a well deck to accommodate more aircraft and fuel, will be able to carry only 6-10 JSFs in a standard air combat element.
Subsequent ships are expected to revert to a well-deck design. In that case, the Marines’ goal for the JSF—that 420 of the Navy’s 680-aircaft order should be B-models, replacing AV-8Bs and Harriers—could be ill-matched to the deck spots available.
Navy, News Boeing, F/A-18, F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, Navy
Boeing Company has finalized a $5.3 billion four-year agreement with the U.S. Navy to build 124 F/A-18 fighter jets and electronic attack planes.
The deal, announced on Tuesday by Boeing and the Pentagon, calls for the company to deliver 66 F/A-18 “Super Hornet” fighters and 58 EA-18G airframes designed for electronic attack to the Navy from 2012 through 2015.
The Pentagon said the multiyear agreement was on fixed-price terms, with an incentive fee — terms that will limit the government’s liability in the event of any cost overruns.
Boeing also won a $249 million contract for logistics support for the F/A-18 fighters, which operate worldwide from the decks of 11 Navy aircraft carriers — including ongoing missions in Afghanistan.
Boeing said the agreement would generate more than $600 million in savings by allowing Boeing and its suppliers to plan further ahead and buy materials in bulks, making production more efficient than under a single year contract.
The contract is based on a price of about $42.7 million per airplane, excluding their engines and other government-furnished equipment.
“Procurement of these 124 aircraft through a multiyear contract takes advantage of the full efficiencies of Boeing’s production and supplier operations, which will generate more than $600 million in cost savings for U.S. taxpayers,” said Kory Matthews, vice president of Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 programs.
News Avro RJ70, certification of superjet 100, CRJ900, Embraer 170, sukhoi superjet 100, superjet 100
Alessandro Franzoni, SuperJet International CEO, told ATW that Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co.’s Superjet 100 is on track to receive a Type Certificate in November from Russian aviation authorities with deliveries to launch customers Aeroflot and Armavia occurring in December.
Franzoni said at European Regions Airline Assn.’s AGM in Barcelona last week that “The delivery process can start as soon as we get this. For sure, the acceptance process [by Aeroflot and Armavia] will start in December.” Aeroflot holds firm orders for 30 SSJ100 plus 15 options, and Armavia has two on firm order with two options.
Meanwhile, SuperJet is bringing everything up to speed to have the technical support and training ready for its first customers, Franzoni added. It has a task force of 30 people, integrating SuperJet, SCAC and SSJ’s important suppliers like PowerJet and Thales, on-site at Moscow Sheremetyevo “and working closely with Aeroflot” to prepare the EIS.
“We continue to work on several markets,” he said, noting SuperJet is maintaining, “the focus on Latin America and Africa as our primary targets. But the good news is that we have some signals that the US market is warming up [to the SSJ], probably a little bit earlier than we expected. Also, leasing companies are now coming to us with serious and concrete interests,” Franzoni said. SuperJet recently logged orders from lessors Pearl Aviation and Willis Lease. The MOUs should be firmed by the end of the year, he said.
Separately, SuperJet is still in discussions with Alitalia, following an October 2009 RFP for 20 SSJs plus five options, Franzoni confirmed. “For us, it would be tremendously important to have Alitalia. They told us they would make a decision in early fall.” He stressed SuperJet is not offering major discounts and over the past year submitted various proposals, “improving our proposition very much. We found a lessor agreeing to an open-ending operational lease at very, very, very attractive rates. We also offered a very attractive support package considering that maybe they will be the first major Western customer and we want to make sure that the transition from their current regional aircraft crew to SSJs will be smooth. We understand that introducing a new aircraft type is a cost to them.”
Reportedly bidding for the AZ regional aircraft order as well are Bombardier and Embraer. The carrier currently operates CRJ900s, Embraer 170 and Avro RJ70 as regional aircraft.
News AAR-60, AAR-60 missile launch detection system, Cassidian Electronics, f-16, MILDS, Norwegian Air Force
Cassidian Electronics, the new name of EADS Defence & Security, will deliver more than 100 AAR-60 missile launch detection system (MILDS) to the Royal Norwegian Air Force for its F-16s.
A deal with Cassidian Electronics, the new name of EADS Defence & Security, will protect Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s from shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile attack.
Under its new “multi-million euro” contract, the company will deliver more than 100 AAR-60 missile launch detection system (MILDS) sensors, which can detect incoming infrared-guided threats and cue countermeasures.
Cassidian has not confirmed the configuration of the MILDS installation selected by Oslo, but notes that the equipment can be fitted to a pylon, pod or directly onto a fighter’s fuselage.
Denmark’s F-16s are being equipped with AAR-60 sensors integrated within Terma-produced countermeasures dispensing pylons, along with signal processors. Each pylon uses three missile warners to provide spherical coverage. The system is “currently under implementation into operational use”, Cassidian says.
News Boeing, EA, EA-18G, EA-18G Growler, F/A-18, F/A-18F Super Hornet
Boeing says that Australia’s decision to pre-wire half of its F/A-18Fs for the electronic-attack mission is generating interest in the option among potential international buyers of the Super Hornet.
Kory Mathews, Vice President of F/A-18 programs, says that the first of 12 aircraft equipped with wiring for conversion to the electronic-attack mission has rolled off the production line in St. Louis and will be delivered to Australia by year’s end.
Mathews says that pre-fitting the F/A-18F with the same wiring as the EA-18G Growler allows the Super Hornet to be modified later to perform the “electronic awareness” and/or electronic-attack roles.
F/A-18F Super Hornet
For electronic awareness, the aircraft would be equipped with the ALQ-218 radar-band and ALQ-227 communications-band receivers to enable it to monitor, analyze and locate potentially hostile emitters. The aircraft could act on the information or send it to other air or ground users. Adding the ALQ-99 jamming pods would give the modified Super Hornet the full electronic-attack capability of the EA-18G.
Mathews states “Pre-wiring is a cost-effective option for a customer considering electronic awareness and/or electronic attack.” Internationally, there is “curiosity to understand what the option provides,” but no formal discussions yet, he adds.
The F/A-18F programs Vice Presidents also said that electronic awareness and electronic attack are separate functions. “Jamming is important, but there is significant operational utility in enhanced electronic awareness.”
There is “no downside” to pre-wiring the F/A-18F to provide the option for future conversion, he maintains. The additional cabling “adds about 300lbs to the aircraft, otherwise there is no difference.”
Meanwhile, Boeing is moving ahead with planned upgrades to the F/A-18E/F. Flight tests of the distributed targeting system began this month. The upgrade adds an image-exploitation processor and mass memory unit.
The system compares synthetic-aperture radar maps from the aircraft’s active-array radar with stored geo-registered SAR maps and generates precise target coordinates for GPS-guided weapons. The capability is to become operational in 2012.
This is to be followed by a podded infrared search-and-track (IRST) sensor and enhancements to the APG-79 active, electronically scanned array radar and sensor-fusion capabilities.
Boeing also is offering a range of upgrades to potential international customers, including conformal fuel tanks, large-area cockpit displays, stealthy weapons pods, enhanced-performance engine (EPE), embedded IRST and distributed aperture systems.
The only one of these formally proposed so far, Mathews says, is the increased-thrust F414EPE in the F/A-18E/F offered to India for the 126-fighter Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft requirement.
Promos Holiday Gift Ideas, Holiday Sale, Sale
Christmas is just ‘round the corner and what better way to celebrate the merriment than with magnificently-crafted model airplanes! Warplanes is aware of how dizzying and stressful holiday shopping could be, so we are here to offer you some holiday gift ideas truly ideal especially for aviation enthusiasts, model collectors, and hobbyists!
Let’s face it. How many times have we repeatedly received and gifted the same old holiday-themed sweaters or gift checks people rarely even use? Or handed recycled gifts? Feeling guilty now? Well, don’t be! Warplanes is here to present you with over 300 model airplanes on sale! These models are the perfect holiday gift ideas for the coming season of gift giving.
NBA fans especially Phoenix Suns fans will surely adore a Boeing 737 Phoenix Suns model airplane crafted only with utmost care. Then, there’s the Orion 2001 model spacecraft which is primed to perfection after NASA’s authentic Orion spacecraft. Or how about the Super G Constellation model plane which is finely detailed enough to fit into any hobbyist’s collection?
Another suggestion which may fascinate anyone is our Apache Longbow AH-64 model helicopter which will add “oomph” to any room once it is mounted on a wall to have the flying effect.
If old school is what you’re after, our P-51 Tuskegee model plane will surely delight your veteran friend or relative. Historians and aviation enthusiasts alike will also go gaga over it! This model is signed by Dr. Thurston L. Gaines, a former Tuskegee airman during the days of war. The AT-6G Texan model will also take the receiving party a trip down memory lane with its identical look to the actual AT-6G Texan airplane.
Nothing is stranger than fiction when it comes to fictional aircraft especially when scaled down to model size like the Gerry Anderson Super Car. Another model which will delight any Star Trek fan is the Star Trek USS Voyager model spacecraft. Take an up-close and personal look at fantasy with these models.
Personalized gifts never go out of style so why not order a custom model airplane instead? Any airplane, any paint scheme, made completely to your specifications in order to show your personal touch along with that thoughtfulness of yours.
Navy fans may adore the Titanic Olympic Class model ship which is made after the famous ship popularly known to have sunk on its maiden voyage killing many of its passengers. The WWII USN U.S.S. Missouri model may also win the heart of any recipient with its grand and elaborate detailing of the actual ship only scaled down to model size in order to command attention in any room.
Showing some spirit and pride may be translated through gifting model plaques such as the National Guard Plaque, US Navy Plaque, US Presidential Plaque, USAF 60th Anniversary Plaque and much more!
If you order now, these giftable models will arrive at your doorstep just in time for Christmas! Bring back the joy of Christmas by gifting items which will surely delight the receiver.
News Scaled Composite, SpaceShipTwo, SS2, WhiteKnightTwo, WK2
Damaged in Aug. 19 due to a landing gear failure, the WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) launch aircraft will return flight along with the Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) as Scaled Composites is poised to resume captive carry flight tests of the latter aircraft.
Flight tests of the unconventional four-engine mother ship resumed at Mojave, California, on Sept. 13 following repairs to the left vertical tail and modifications to the main landing gear. The undercarriage was beefed up with what senior Scaled management describes as a minor modification, plus an additional fail-safe redundancy.
The functional check flight evaluated performance with the gear fixed down, as well as a simulated SS2 glide mission and approach. The flight, which included two touch-and-go approaches, involved pilot proficiency work and evaluations of engine pylons, rudder repairs, lateral stability and environmental-control systems.
Scaled Composite says the Aug. 19 gear failure occurred while the crew was performing touch-and-go maneuvers. “Upon the fifth nominal touchdown, the left-hand main gear partially retracted. Flight-test engineer Marc Zeitlin immediately annunciated the anomaly and pilot Pete Siebold called for an abort while holding centerline. Meanwhile, co-pilot Clint Nichols secured the engines and systems.”
According to the company, a subsequent test flight, also made with the gear fixed down, was recently completed with no further issues.
Envelope expansion work with the space vehicle attached will still be possible with the gear deployed due to the relatively high-power capability of the WK2’s four Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308A engines.
News c-130, c-130 hercules, Iran
Iran has successfully conducted the first test-flight of the domestically-upgraded C-130 aircraft during the fifth day of Sacred Defense Week.
Defense Ministry Ahmad Vahidi said on Sunday that “the C-130 should have been upgraded earlier but due to international sanctions and losing contact with its manufacturer it (the upgrade) was postponed until now.”
Vahidi praised Iranian aviation experts for successfully rendering US-engineered anti-Iran sanctions ineffective.
“The Defense Ministry’s aerial industry experts not only upgraded the C-130 aircraft, but also made greater achievements by designing and producing advanced durable parts,” said the Iranian minister.
As part of the Islamic Republic’s general goal to bolster its military might and inline with military self-sufficiency doctrine, Iran has unveiled a series of domestically-produced weaponry over the past months despite sanctions.
In August, Iran unveiled its first domestically-manufactured long-range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle named Karrar, which is is capable of flying long distances at a very high speed.
Blog Articles, News b737, Da Vinci, Gossamer Condor, Ornithopter, Snowbird, University of Toronto
Canadian engineering students say that they have flown an engineless aircraft that stays aloft by flapping its wings like a bird.
According to the University of Toronto, International aviation officials are expected to certify next month that the Snowbird has made the world’s first successful, sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter.
Centuries after the Renaissance inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci, sketched a human-powered flying machine, the Snowbird, sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, in an August 2 test flight near Toronto that was witnessed by an official of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. A video of the flight was shown on news programs.
Leonardo Da Vinci sketched designs in the late 1400s of a giant bat-shaped craft that used a pilot’s arms and legs to power the wings. He is not believed to have built one, and engineers now say it would not have worked if he had.
Others have claimed to have built machines that flew like a bird, but the Canadian group says they have the telemetry data to prove their ornithopter powered itself through the air rather than just glided after being lifted aloft. “Those past claims were never verified. We believe we are the first, because we know what it took to do it,” chief structural engineer Cameron Robertson, said in an interview from Tottenham, Ontario, north of Toronto, where the Snowbird was displayed.
The Canadian engineers had to design a flapping wing with enough lift and thrust to overcome the aircraft’s weight. The computer power to calculate the design and materials needed to build the aircraft were not available before, Robertson said. He also said that the team will likely turn their attention to building a piloted engine-powered ornithopter. Past flights of engine-power ornithopters have involved remote-controlled aircraft.
Todd Reichert, the pilot and project manager stated that “This represents one of the last of the aviation firsts.”
The aircraft weighs just 43 kg (94 pounds), but has a wing span of 105 feet, which is comparable to that of a Boeing 737 airliner.
A tow car helped the Snowbird lift clear of the ground, but then the pilot took over, using his feet to pump a bar that flaps the wings, giving it the look of a somewhat drunken bird, according videos of the August event. The car was needed to help with takeoff, because the aircraft had to be so lightweight it could not carry the equipment needed to get itself off the ground.
The ornithopter’s 19.3-second qualifying flight covered a distance of 145 metres (475 feet) at an average speed of 25.6 km/h (16 mph), although the day ended with a broken drive line that has since grounded the aircraft, according to project officials.
The Snowbird is not the first human-powered aircraft to successfully fly. The Gossamer Condor used a pedal-powered propeller in 1977 to cover a one-mile figure-eight course in 7.5 minutes. One later flew across the English Channel.
News Dragon capsule, falcon 9, falcon 9 rocket, spacex, SpaceX Dragon Capsule, spacex dragon spacecraft
From Oct. 23 to early November, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is retargeting the launch of its next Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry an operational Dragon capsule.
Among three launches planned, the Falcon 9’s flight is the first under SpaceX’s $278 million Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract with NASA. The company also has contracts worth $1.6 billion for 12 cargo delivery runs to the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s Communications Director Kirstin Brost wrote in an e-mail “Our targeted launch date has moved.” She also wrote “We’ve submitted a request for November 8th or 9th and are waiting for the range to complete their standard deconfliction work and provide a formal approval.”
SpaceX conducted a tanking test as part of a countdown rehearsal for the launch of its second Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40 last Sept 15. An engine test firing also is expected in the weeks leading up to this event.
Demonstrating Dragon’s orbital maneuvering, communication and re-entry capabilities is the goal of the flight. After several orbits around Earth to verify performance, the capsule is designed to re-enter the atmosphere and splash down off the coast of southern California, where a recovery team will be standing by.
Typically, Dragon will enter the atmosphere at around 7 km. per sec. (15,660 mph.), which will heat its exterior up to 2000C. For shielding, SpaceX is using a material it calls PICA-X – Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator.
“We will gather performance data and retire significant amounts of risk on key spacecraft systems, including [the capsule’s] Draco thrusters, the Dragon communication systems, PICA-X high-performance heat-shield material, and other critical navigation, re-entry, landing and recovery systems,” the company says on its website.