India may abandon plans to procure 197 light utility helicopter (LUHs) from abroad for the Indian air force (64) and army (133). Such a decision would favor government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which is developing its own LUH design based on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). The government was already planning to order an additional 187 light utility helicopters to be produced under license by HAL. It is not clear what the time frame for delivery would be, as HAL would need to expand its current production facility, requiring government approval.
Lockheed Martin plans to upgrade the daylight television camera on U.S. Army AH-64D Apache helicopters with a high-definition color-capable camera with improved field of view. The modernized day sensor assembly (M-DSA) is the last component of the Apache’s nose-mounted target acquisition and designation system (TADS) to be upgraded.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is continuing to expand the capabilities of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter with sensor upgrades, a new weapon option and greater networking capabilities. The latter is being achieved through the Longbow unmanned aerial system tactical common data link assembly (UTA), a product of Longbow LLC (a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman).
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is continuing to expand the capabilities of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter with sensor upgrades, a new weapon option and greater networking capabilities.
Budget cuts to the German Armed Forces will force the renegotiation of contracts with two divisions of EADS for the A400M transport, and for NH90 and Tiger helicopters.
MBDA Deutschland conducted three firing trials of its PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget precision missile in late April as part of its campaign to sell the weapon to India. Performed at the Vidsel range in Sweden, the test firings were undertaken from a German Eurocopter Tiger UHT helicopter, for which PARS 3 LR has been selected by the German army.
The first three AH-64D Block III Apaches, the latest update of the attack helicopter, were advancing through production this month at the Boeing Global Strike facility in Mesa, Arizona, in advance of first deliveries to the U.S. Army this fall.
Sikorsky has won the $3.5 billion Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP), with a version of the Black Hawk designated T-70. Detailed negotiations for assembly of an initial 109 T-70s by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will now begin. TAI will produce some parts for the T-70s, while local company Alp Aviation, which is 50-percent owned by Sikorsky, will produce dynamic components.
Eurocopter ended 2010 with a flurry of progress announcements, some of which related to previously delayed military programs in Europe. The first NH-90s in the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) configuration for France and Spain both made their maiden flights at Marignane on December 17. The French machine, one of 34 TTHs to be handed over to the French army late this year, is now undergoing flight tests at Istres.
Last week Denel Aviation delivered the first fully upgraded Rooivalk back to the South African Air Force (SAAF). After testing, the indigenous attack helicopter will finally get its type certificate and be inducted into the SAAF as the Rooivalk Mk 1. The SAAF’s No. 16 Squadron has been semi-operational on the type for a number of years, but the fleet has suffered problems.