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The U.S. Army awarded an $18 million contract to Boeing for the second phase testing of its advanced rotocraft flight control system. The testing is for the continued development of a technology that will improve helicopter’s manoeuvrability and performance. The program is known as Adaptive Vehicle Management System (AVMS.) Testing will be done in helicopter models like AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook.
The advanced rotocraft flight control system is a joint development project between Boeing and Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate. It aims to reduce aircrew workload and overall operating cost. I will adapt the flight controls to the helicopter’s flight condition, environment, and even pilot intent.
In Phase II of the AMVS, the test will demonstrate the design’s portability as well as how it can enhance the flight performance of the helicopter during attack and cargo missions. The test will encompass more than 100 hours of flight time.
“Phase II also allows us to continue H-6 flight control test bed prototyping activities to expand AVMS’ capabilities,” said Steve Glusman, director, Boeing Advanced Mobility. “AVMS will be a key capability in future Boeing aircraft such as Future Vertical Lift rotorcraft.”
Boeing has manufactured numerous helicopter models for our military. Get a replica of these helicopter models from Warplanes.
News source: www.menafn.com
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The Boeing Helicopter Modification Center in Millville, New Jersey reached a milestone as the 100th CH-47 helicopter, also known as Chinooks, to enter the work line is now all set to enter military service with the U.S. Army.
Boeing held a public event at its municipal airport to celebrate the milestone. The facility only opened in February 2010 and employs fifty people.
The CH-47 helicopter, a twin-rotor cargo and troop transport is in demand all over the world. But the helicopter models from Millville are only exclucively used for the U.S. Army. The event highlighted the partnership of Boeing and the U.S. Army.
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo spoke at the event and emphasized the role of the facility in the war effort.
“But what this is all about is protecting our nation. What this is all about is fulfilling our promise to those heroes who put on the United States military uniform and put their lives in harm’s way to defend this country, and our promise to give them the very best equipment that we can, so that they can keep out nation safe,” said LoBiondo
The center is finishes one unit of CH-47 every 16 days, less than the 20 days projection of the U.S. Army.
The star of the event, helicopter numbered 09-08797 was displayed outside the hangar for the public to see.
You too can display your own CH-47 Chinook replica model and other helicopter models in your home from Warplanes.
News source: www.courierpostonline.com
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Australia’s five twin-rotor Chinook helicopters have been grounded because of a serious technical fault.
The Defence Department provided only scant details of “possible issues” with the CH-47 aircraft’s Advanced Flight Control System in “certain flight conditions”. The AFCS assists with the stability of the aircraft and helps the pilot to maintain control by reducing the workload and keeping the machine where the pilot wants it.
It is understood that the investigation of a Chinook crash in Afghanistan in late May, which claimed the life of army pilot Lieutenant Marcus Case, triggered possible concerns about the flight control system.The machine, designated Dark and Stormy, turned on its side before crashing into the ground during a familiarisation flight.
The AFCS is a vital piece of kit in inherently unstable aircraft such as the CH-47D Chinook.
Director-General of Army Aviation, Brigadier Neil Turton, said the flight suspension was to ensure the helicopters’ safety and that it was consistent with army operational airworthiness procedures. “The precautionary suspension will remain in place pending technical analysis of flight data by Defence and Boeing,” Brigadier Turton said.
The suspension applies to the two CH-47D Chinook aircraft deployed to Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan in support of International Security Assistance Force operations.
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The Boeing Company and the U.S. Army celebrated the opening of the newly renovated CH-47 Chinook manufacturing facility last Wednesday, Sept.21. The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the CH-47 Chinook’s first flight.
“Boeing has made a $130 million investment to create a world-leading aircraft manufacturing facility to support continuing U.S. and international demand for the unmatched vertical lift capabilities of the Chinook,” said Jean Chamberlin, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Ridley Township-based Mobility division.
Chamberlin said the upgraded facility will allow Boeing to increase production and work toward securing a second CH-47F multi-year contract.
The factory renovations will allow Boeing to increase Chinook production rates to six aircraft per month, up from the current rate of four per month. The modern facility offers enhanced employee safety and comfort, lower operating costs and reduced environmental impact. The new facility is one of three Boeing facilities recognized for zero waste contribution to landfill.
“The CH-47F is proving its exceptional capabilities every day in combat operations,” said U.S. Army Col. Bob Marion, project manager for Cargo Helicopters. “The technological advantages and improvements in the CH-47F are powerful combat multipliers that save soldiers’ lives and support overall contingency operations in theater.”
“ I am extremely proud of the Chinook team on this milestone 50-year achievement.”
Source: Aviation News
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A significant aspect of the Aug. 6 shoot-down of a U.S. Army Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter by a militant’s rocket-propelled grenade in Wardak, Afghanistan, which killed all 38 Afghan and American forces onboard—25 of whom were members of U.S. special operations—is that while the bird was on a special forces mission, it wasn’t a special operations aircraft.
While such tragedies are a cost of war, and neither the helicopter nor the regular Army crew piloting it has been blamed for the incident, the shoot-down underscores two serious and long-standing concerns: inadequate protection for low-flying rotorcraft against gunfire and rudimentary rockets, and the lack of sufficient dedicated rotary-wing assets for special forces.
At a special forces technology conference in Tampa, Fla., this summer, commanders from U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC) said they were looking for more money from the services to invest in new rotary-wing aircraft. “We’re going to hopefully guide the services into giving us something that is useful for us,” said Army Col. Doug Rombough, program executive officer for rotary-wing aircraft at SOC. “We certainly don’t have the budget or funding to guide a whole new generation of aircraft.”
Special operators are putting more focus than ever on rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft needs, standing up the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (SOAC) at Ft. Bragg, N.C., in March, with the goal of allowing the commander of the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regt. (SOAR) to focus on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the SOAC commander focuses on the funding and equipping goals of special operations aviation. While the Boeing MH-47G Chinooks that are the workhorses of the spec op fleet are upwards of half a century old, there are much newer aircraft that spec op forces have been flying.
Beginning in 2009, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) started receiving the first of 50 planned Bell-Boeing CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft, delivery of which is scheduled to be complete by 2015. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review also laid out goals for spec op rotary-wing assets, including “165 tiltrotor/fixed-wing mobility and fire-support primary mission aircraft,” stipulating that the Army and SOC “will add a company of upgraded cargo helicopters (MH-47G) to the Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regt., and the Navy will dedicate two helicopter squadrons for direct support to naval special warfare units.”
All this is happening as the incoming head of the command—Vice Adm. William McRaven—wrote in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in June that SOC’s “current operations will pressure development and limit required modernization and recapitalization efforts” of its rotary fleets. This in turn is resulting in a “lack of vertical lift capability to train [spec op] ground forces and aircrew proficiency” and is hurting the overall health and readiness of the force.
The high-hot conditions and high operational tempo at maximum weights that the helicopters are working under in Afghanistan, Rombough said, have taken a toll on the fleet. “They’re making only 15 years because of heavy use,” he said, which falls far short of the usual 20-year lifespan. When it comes to new platforms, he added, “we need game-changers . . . we are behind the power curve already if all of our aircraft hit at that same timeline.” While the Pentagon is looking for a rotorcraft capable of 170 kt., Rombough said special operators need “a minimum 200-kt. capability.”
Life cycle is one thing. Survivability in a combat zone is another. Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) launched an experimental program that borrowed a land vehicle-based gunshot detection system—Boomerang—and installed a version on a Black Hawk helicopter. Named the Helicopter Alert and Threat Termination-Acoustic (Haltt-A) program, the system’s microphones “hear” a round leave a weapon and are capable of fixing the location of the shooter. Four Hallt-A systems are deployed to Afghanistan, according to reports. But if special forces operators are to take advantage of such efforts, it’s going to be in a budgetary environment that is skeptical of new funding. SOC’s fiscal 2012 budget request is $10.5 billion—with $7.2 billion coming in the baseline and $3.3 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations budget. If enacted, this would be an increase of 7% over the fiscal 2011 budget request of $9.8 billion.
Even if spec ops doesn’t have enough rotary-wing assets to fully train with, as McRaven says, those it does have are getting old. And while SOC has installed upgrades on its aging Chinook helicopters, the high operational tempo of a decade of nonstop combat has taken its toll on the fleet.
Updates have been coming, however. In March, Boeing delivered the 61st refitted MH-47G Chinook to SOAR, as part of a multiyear service life extension program that updated the aircraft from the D and E models. SOAR should also receive eight more G models by fiscal 2015. Boeing says the upgrades will increase the platform’s life through the 2030s—when the aircraft will be almost 70 years old.
The MH-47G upgrades are significant. They give the helicopter higher-efficiency engines, improved avionics, an upgraded airframe, a suite of radio-frequency countermeasures and a refueling probe. Also included is a fully integrated digital Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), which allows special forces operators to take advantage of better communications, navigational technologies and situational awareness capabilities, including forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and multimode radar for nap-of-earth and low-level flight.
Overall, the 160th has 184 rotorcraft in its inventory: 51 MH/AH-6M Little Birds, 61 MH-47G Chinooks and 72 MH-60M Black Hawks. The most recent Black Hawk modernization program took Sikorsky’s UH-60M aircraft from Army stocks and added CAAS, wide-chord rotor blades, an improved electro-optical sensor system and 2,500‑hp. General Electric YT706-GE-700 engines. The AH-6M Little Bird, a light utility helicopter, has been upgraded with FLIR surveillance systems and dual-flight controls.
When it comes to unmanned rotorcraft, Rombough said that while the special operations force is interested in unmanned vertical-takeoff assets—and is watching the U.S. Marine Corps program to develop an unmanned cargo helicopter—it is handing its A160 Hummingbirds to the Army’s unmanned aircraft systems office. “We’re done with our effort,” he said.
In January, SOC put out a notice advising industry that it was planning a “full and open competition” for a new mid-endurance unmanned aircraft systems platform to add to its arsenal of secret drones and surveillance equipment.
Draft versions of the request for proposals (RFP) came out in late March and early April, with a formal RFP released on April 28. Since almost everything about the program is classified—other than the fact that it exists—all that is left are hints dropped in the announcement.
Currently, the mid-endurance unmanned aircraft needs of special forces, as far as is known, are being met in part by the Boeing ScanEagle, which is referenced at the top of the solicitation. In 2009, Boeing and its subsidiary Insitu Inc. signed a deal worth $250 million to operate ScanEagle systems for special operations forces “for the next five years”—so it doesn’t look like the Scan- Eagle is going anywhere.
But what kind of upgraded capability is SOC looking to get with this new program? The public solicitation says that SOC wants to award a single, three-year, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a projected award this summer. And it needs the winning bidder to be capable of providing the “near-real-time feed of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance product availability from 300-900 hr. per site monthly” using “non-developmental contractor-owned and contractor-operated unmanned aircraft systems.”
The ScanEagle, for its part, has proven itself remarkably effective across a range of missions, from the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan to hunting pirates at sea—even flying from the USS Bainbridge while assisting in the rescue of the merchant ship Maersk-Alabama’s captain, Richard Phillips, who had been taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009 (a siege that ended with three Seal Team 6 snipers killing three pirates with simultaneous shots from the Bainbridge).
All of this operational experience adds up. In March 2010, it was estimated that ScanEagle was flying 22% of the 550,000 hr. logged by the U.S. military’s unmanned aircraft annually. A few years ago, a Scan- Eagle was even launched off a special warfare boat by Navy special forces.
In the decade since 9/11, the manpower of U.S. special operations has nearly doubled, its budget nearly tripled and overseas deployments are up four-fold. While all this has happened, the force’s rotary-wing assets have grown incrementally and upgrades have not kept pace with demand. With the end strength of the Army and Marines set to decline in coming years, and budgets expected to tighten while the operational tempo for SOC stays high, equipment will be further stressed, something that makes leadership nervous.
A Special Operations Command MH-47 helicopter practices roof drops at Ft. Bragg, N.C. The spec ops rotorcraft fleet is stressed by the high tempo of operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
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The Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has announced a contract award for 14 new Chinook helicopters, the RAF’s workhorse on the frontline in Afghanistan. The contract with Boeing to supply the Chinook heavy lift helicopters will bring a significant enhancement to the mobility of frontline forces. Already the largest fleet in Europe, this new contract will bring the UK’s overall number of Chinooks to 60.
This announcement follows the Government’s recent commitment to a one per cent a year real term increase in the MOD’s equipment and support budget from 2015. This new Chinook contract is valued at £1bn or $1.64 billion, including development, manufacture, and the first five years of support to the new Chinooks.
“From the Falkland Islands to Iraq and Afghanistan, the RAF has operated Chinooks magnificently for many years in the most demanding environments. These additional helicopters will significantly enhance our existing heavy lift helicopter capability. This fleet will support our frontline troops in current and future operations for decades to come,” The Secretary said.
The new Chinook Mark 6 helicopters will feature a cutting edge digital flight control system making them easier to operate in the most difficult conditions, including the hot and dusty environments such as those encountered in Afghanistan.
“Chinook is an exceptionally capable helicopter that in the hands of the very skilful RAF crews has proved itself time and again in many operational theatres across the globe and is the backbone of the Royal Air Force’s helicopter fleet,” Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said.
The RAF will receive the first aircraft for initial trials and testing in 2013 and it will enter service in May 2014 making an immediate contribution to the flexibility of the UK Chinook capability. Delivery will be complete by the end of 2015.
Story and Photo: Royal Air Force
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Nine paintings depicting the evolution of air and space, which are displayed in the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station technical support building lobby, will be adopted into the Air Force Art Program this year. The paintings were rescued years ago after being abandoned inside a storage closet at the Chidlaw Building, the then-headquarters building for the Aerospace Defense Command of the North American Air Defense Command.
“The big significance is that we capture some heritage, so that it doesn’t get lost,” said Col. Russell Wilson, tjhe 721st Mission Support Group commander at CMAFS.
For years, the paintings have been a source of conversation and mystery, Colonel Wilson said. The only clue about the paintings’ origins is the signature, “T. Patterson.” Beyond that, the paintings are not dated and no one knows who T. Patterson was.
“We still ask the question, where did these paintings come from?” he said.
Art Marthaller, a retired chief master sergeant and retired Department of Defense civilian, found the discarded paintings in the mid 1980s in the Chidlaw Building. The paintings were covered in dust, but he liked them, he said. Chief Marthaller asked around and no one objected, so he took them up to the mountain and put them up in the conference room.
The paintings run as a series that begin with Greek mythology and the depiction of Icarus, the Greek man who made wings of feathers and wax to escape Crete. However, he flew too close to the sun and melted his wings causing his crash to earth.
Each painting has a number of faces or images that represent different eras of flight history. The paintings depict the first manned balloon flight in France by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783 and the first successful airplane flight by the Wright brothers in 1903.
T. Patterson also paid homage to World War I German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the Red Barron, and in a separate painting to Valentina Terskova, a Soviet cosmonaut who in 1963 became the first woman in space.
The paintings also treat viewers to the Flying Tiger, the P-38 Lightning, the Supermarine Spitfire and the CH-47 Chinook, which spans 1941 to the early 1960s in three paintings. The artist also paints the Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969 and then the more modern F-15 Eagle tactical fighters and the all-weather surveillance E-3 Sentry, which would indicate the paintings were done after 1977, when those aircraft were introduced.
“As you look at them, they really show the transition of air power,” Colonel Wilson said. “There are a lot of famous people in the paintings — it’s fun, a lot of folks will stop here and try to figure out who they are.”
The paintings have been examined by the 21st Space Wing and Air Force Space Command historians, but neither had ever seen the paintings or knew anything about the artist, Colonel Wilson said.
“I heard comments and rumors that the painter was a Vietnam veteran doing some art therapy,” said Jim Burghardt, 721st MSG test control operations chief. “I would like to know who he is.”
Source: U.S. Air Force
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The Australian Defense Force’s air operations capability has returned to Afghanistan to support International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations for 2011. The Rotary Wing Group recently commenced full operational duties.
Australian soldiers at a remote patrol base in Uruzgan Province unload stores delivered by a CH-47D "Chinook" on a combat service support mission in Afghanistan
Commanding Officer of the Rotary Wing Group, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Monaghan, said that this partnership had great impact in terms of strengthening the relationship with Coalition partners.
“The Australian contribution, although small in comparison to the American aviation assets, is considered an integral part of ISAF and the mission is an important element in the Coalition effort in Afghanistan,” Lieutenant Colonel Monaghan said.
Since their first deployment in 2006, the Australian Chinooks have been highly valued on the battlefield and are well suited to operations in Afghanistan’s traditionally harsh environment.
The CH-47D, “Chinook” helicopter is an aircraft with a lift capability of 12,000 kilograms, allowing it to counter aircraft performance issues sometimes encountered in mountainous terrain and landing zones at high elevations.
The Task Group from 5 Aviation Regiment returned to Australia in October 2010 for the Afghan winter to undertake mandatory maintenance and a well earned break after completing over 737 flying hours and having moved in excess of 691,000 kilograms of supplies.
Now back in Kandahar, Australian CH-47Ds are embedded with the United States Army’s 159th Combat Aviation Brigade and have conducted trial missions and maintenance to ensure the helicopters and crew are well prepared for the Afghan summer ahead.
CH-47D Pilot, Captain Tye Masterson said the type of missions flown by Coalition helicopters ranged from moving passengers and cargo around bases to providing tactical air mobility in support of ISAF operations in southern Afghanistan.
“The majority of our missions involve Australian and US helicopters and we often support Australian forces on the ground as well as Americans and Afghans,” Captain Masterson said.
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The Canadian military has confirmed that hostile fire forced down a Chinook helicopter in August, but remains uncertain about what weapon the insurgents used.
Initial reports from Task Force Kandahar suggested the helicopter, which was carrying 21 people including crew, had taken small-arms fire as it flew over the Panjwaii district. Eight people suffered minor injuries when the Chinook was forced to make an emergency landing near the village of Armarah, southwest of Kandahar city.
“What we know is that it was taken down by enemy action, nothing has changed there. What we cannot find out exactly is the weapon that was used on it. You have to understand the airplane was burned within the following minutes.” Col. Paul Prevost said.
Following the release of several thousand pages of classified documents about the war on the website Wikileaks, there had been speculation the Taliban was making use of heat-seeking missiles.
A Canadian was killed with six others in 2007 while aboard an American Chinook that was struck with what witnesses described as a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile.
Col. Prevost praised the crew of five, who were able to land safely and evacuate the aircraft quickly.
The report has been sent to Ottawa, along with a letter signed the air wing’s command endorsing its findings.
It’s not the first time a Canadian helicopter has crashed in Afghanistan.
On July 6, 2009, Master Cpl. Pat Audet, 38, of Montreal, and Cpl. Martin Joannette, 25, of St-Calixte, Que., died in Zabul province when their Griffon CH-146 helicopter crashed on takeoff. Three other Canadian Forces members were injured, one of them seriously. A British officer was also killed in the crash.
Last year’s crash was believed to have occurred when the chopper clipped a security wall while trying to manoeuvre in a blinding cloud of dust.
Canada now has five Chinook helicopters remaining in its Afghanistan fleet.
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Also helping in cinematography
Aside from Chinooks and Blackhawks, other helicopters making their way in Hollywood films are the Bell 206 JetRanger and the Bell UH-1 Iroquois aka Huey. According to rotaryaction.com, the JetRanger is the most popular helicopter to be used on the big and small screens while the Huey is the most popular helicopter to be used for shooting aerial scenes.
The Bell 206 JetRanger
The two-bladed JetRanger, manufactured by Bell Helicopter, can carry 1 crew and 4 passengers. The $700,000 helicopter is powered by an Allison 250-C20J turboshaft engine and has a maximum speed of 139 mph. It was first introduced in 1967.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Will Ferrell as anchorman Ron Burgundy in front of their TV station's JetRanger helicopter
Roger Moore as Agent 007 James Bond
The JetRanger starred in many movies such as the 2007 action-comedy film Mr. & Mrs. Smith, 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and the 1981 James Bond flick, For Your Eyes Only.
Alias' heroine Sydney Bristow played by Jennifer Garner
It also appeared in several TV series such as Alias (Maternal Instinct episode), Smallville (several episodes), and 24 (in season 6).
Bell UH-1 Iroquois
Also manufactured by Bell Helicopter, the UH-1 Iroquois can carry 1-4 crew and 14 passengers. Powered by a Lycoming T53-L-11 turboshaft engine, it can fly up to 135 mph. The military helicopter was first introduced in 1959.
The Living Daylights movie poster
Even if it is mostly used behind the lens in cinematography, the UH-1 Iroquois also starred in the 1987 James Bond movie, The Living Daylights.