The U.S. Navy is rethinking prime contractor Northrop Grumman’s selection of an Exelis-built collision avoidance radar for the unmanned MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance aircraft. The plan was to fit the Global Hawk derivative with the first Department of Defense (DOD) program of record “sense-and-avoid” radar, to comply with international airspace requirements and prevent midair collisions. However, “we’ve made a decision to pause on the development of that capability,” Capt. James Hoke, the Navy’s Triton program manager, said at the Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C.
Xsight Systems, the same company that developed a system for detecting foreign object debris, recently introduced BirdWize, a software product for reducing bird strikes by more effective tracking of ground-level bird threats.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) hopes that testing the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is conducting will identify a limit for the number of lithium batteries that can be safely transported by cargo aircraft.
The Textile Rental Services Association applauds a recent EPA modification of its hazardous-waste management regulations to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused. Commercial laundries handle, wash and return clean wipes to their customers as part of the industrial laundry business. “Reusable textile products reduce waste and protect workers.
Rockwell Collins’s next-generation TTR-2100 traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas II) for transport aircraft has achieved FAA certification. The new system, which provides NextGen traffic surveillance in a lighter and more capable unit, is available for Boeing aircraft as a forward-fit and retrofit solution. Airbus and other aircraft types will follow soon. Both the TTR-2100 and the soon-to-be certified TTR-4100 for helicopters and business and regional aircraft meet the emerging requirements of NextGen airspace.
Mitsubishi has contracted with Sikorsky to acquire 11 S-76Ds for search-and-rescue operations by the Japan Coast Guard. Meanwhile, in China, Citic Offshore Helicopter has ordered two S-92s for offshore oil transportation. Sikorsky plans to deliver the new S-92s in December next year and March 2015. In another Chinese deal, Sikorsky and Zhuhai Helicopter announced a contract for four Sikorsky S-92s to be used for offshore missions.
Bristow is retrofitting a fleet of 44 Sikorsky S-76C++s and Sikorsky S-92As with Rockwell Collins’s traffic alert and collision avoidance (Tcas II) system. Installations are in progress. A new-generation system, the TTR-4100, will be fitted to 20 of the helicopters. It adds traffic computer capability and enables automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in.
Eurocopter delivered three new EC225s to customers in Vietnam and Malaysia for offshore oil-and-gas operations. The three customers are Southern Vietnam Helicopter Company (VNH South) and Malaysian firms Awan Inspirasi Sdn Bhd (AISB) and MHS Aviation. All were already EC225 operators.
Purdue University pilots flew an Embraer Phenom 100 partially powered by a mix of biofuel and jet-A to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh on Friday. The biofuel blend–a mixture of a camelina-based biofuel and jet-A provided by the U.S. Air Force–was used to power one of the Phenom’s engines; the other engine ran on jet-A alone. Key flight performance measurements were recorded and will be studied.
With the continuing strains on the U.S. national budget and the possibility that the Administration’s sequestration program could last for several more years, Pentagon planners are said to be worrying that the costs of the future GPS III system could become out of reach, despite its major advances and the need to have modernized replacement satellites ready to be deployed as the orbital lives of current satellites end.