AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman have teamed to offer the three-engine AW101 for the U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) requirement, the successor program of the cancelled CSAR-X. The companies will offer the same type for the Navy’s VXX program to replace the U.S. presidential helicopter. That acquisition was originally awarded to AgustaWestland teamed with Lockheed Martin for the VH-71 Kestrel version of the AW101 but later cancelled.
The Navy has spent nearly a decade and $3.4 billion researching candidates for a new fleet of helicopters to transport the President and other government VIPs. Now, as the Navy starts the process anew as the VXX program, AgustaWestland announced that it will again enter the fray with its medium-lift three-engine AW101, this time partnered with Northrop Grumman.
AgustaWestland’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat has moved closer to being fully operational. The initial release into service for the British Army model was issued last April and the first operational flight came on June 18. The AW159 is the successor of the Lynx helicopter family although the only major components in common with the earlier Lynx design are the main rotor blades and rotor head.
Speaking of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract MD Helicopters signed last year, Lynn Tilton, CEO of Mesa, Arizona-based company, said, “That’s the highlight [of 2011], to serve those who serve for love of country. And it goes back to our roots of 1964, when Hughes Helicopter [predecessor of MD Helicopters] first won a military contract.” She made the comments at a Heli-Expo 2012 press conference in Dallas yesterday.
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have teamed to offer a pod-mounted radar surveillance system that can easily be fitted to transport aircraft or medium-sized helicopters. The Vigilance system is being marketed as a viable alternative to expensive, role-dedicated airborne platforms. It also offers maritime and overland reconnaissance options, thanks to the versatility of modern AESA radar technology.
As the culmination of a jointly funded cooperation program between Italian electronics house Elettronica and the Elop business of Elbit Systems, the Israeli company yesterday announced a $15 million contract to supply directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) systems for installation on Italian aerial platforms, including the Lockheed Martin C-130J and Alenia C-27J transports, and AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters.
Marshall Aerospace (Hall 2b E158) is bidding to fill the UK’s maritime surveillance gap by modifying some of the Royal Air Force’s Lockheed Martin C-130Js.
The U.S. Air Force will invite bids for two major helicopter requirements, the service confirmed.
The “HH-60 Recapitalization” is the new name for the ill-fated combat search and rescue (CSAR-X) competition, which was abandoned in 2009, three years after the Boeing HH-47 Chinook was first declared the winner.
AgustaWestland’s AW169, introduced last summer at the Farnborough airshow, makes its Heli-Expo debut this year and the Finmeccanica company says the program “is progressing as planned.”