MagEagle UAV To Track Subs
Boeing’s Phantom Works is developing a version of its ScanEagle Compressed Carriage (SECC) unmanned air system that can track submarines using magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. Known as MagEagle Compressed Carriage (MECC), the UAS is envisioned to operate in conjunction with the company’s P-8 Poseidon maritime patroller.
Last year the U.S. Navy deleted the MAD from its P-8s because acoustic processing had advanced sufficiently to negate the need for a magnetometer, while the deletion of a tail sting saves weight and drag.
MagEagle could be used to restore gaps in ASW coverage created by the deletion of the P-8’s MAD, and also facilitate the Poseidon’s mission. In ASW operations MECCs could be dropped to provide additional target validation, and to track submarines for up to 24 hours. Their use would allow the launch platform to remain at high altitude. The MECC would be recovered at a shore base or aboard a ship.
Pakistan Reportedly Buying J-10s
Reports from Pakistan indicate it has placed an order for the Chinese Chengdu J-10. The $1.4 billion deal for the multirole fighter is said to cover 36 aircraft to equip two squadrons. Ultimately the sale could amount to as many as 150 J-10s, which most likely would be designated FC-20 in Pakistani service.
Details of the supposed agreement are scant, and there is no mention of whether the aircraft would be powered by the Russian-supplied Salut AL-31FN turbofan that has been installed in Chinese production aircraft to date, or the indigenous WS-10A Taihang engine. The latter has undergone a protracted development and appears to be initially aimed at the Shenyang J-11B, a Chinese development of the Su-27 Flanker.
Chengdu is, however, flight-testing a J-10B version with several advanced features. Among them is a stealthy diverter-less inlet and an infrared search-and-track turret, while the angled bulkhead between the forward fuselage and the new, lengthened radome would suggest the intention to install an active electronically scanned antenna radar.
Honeywell Continues T55 Chinook Deal
Honeywell has finalized a $79 million contract to continue supplying T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines and associated fielding kits to the U.S. Army for installation in its Chinook helicopters. The engines are used in both new-build CH-47Fs and by retrofit to CH-47Ds, giving the older aircraft 17 percent more power with a 5-percent reduction in fuel consumption. Honeywell is expected to begin deliveries of engines from this latest contract early next year to Boeing’s CH-47F production line. The Army has the option to continue the contract for two more years.
747-8 Freighter Preps for First Flight
Boeing towed the first 747-8 Freighter out of the factory in Everett, Washington, last week in preparation for first flight, painting and delivery to Cargolux in December next year. Cargolux has delivered two 747-400s to UPS in the expectation of receiving its first 747-8s by now. It has also has committed
to delivering another 747-400 to UPS next year. But major program delays have forced first flight into the first quarter of next year and expected certification into the fourth quarter (see page 26). The freighter is 250 feet 2 inches (76.3 m) long–
18 feet 4 inches longer than the 747-400 Freighter.
The stretch will provide customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared with its predecessor, translating into capacity for four more main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.
Boeing has secured 105 orders for the 747-8, 78 of which involve orders for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the 747-8 Freighter.