Sandel Avionics (Booth 4866) announced that it had been issued a service installation bulletin (equivalent to an FAA STC) from the Russian aviation authorities and the Mil Design Bureau for installing its ST3400H HeliTaws system in the Mil Mi-8AMT and Mi-8MTV-1 helicopters. The ST3400H thus becomes the first non-Russian helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (H-Taws) to be certified in the country.
Airbus Helicopters received EASA certification for its upgraded EC135T3/P3 light twin, a model that was announced at Heli-Expo last year. Powered by a pair of Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 Plus (T3) or Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206B3 (P3) turboshafts, the new version of the EC135 offers 440 pounds more payload in hot-and-high conditions.
Bell Helicopter, a division of Textron, recently announced orders for 14 Model 505 JetRanger X light singles in South Africa. Bell’s local sales representative, National Airways, was responsible for the sales, mostly to “private pilots and enthusiasts,” according to the OEM. Nine of the sales were announced at the 8th Africa Aerospace and Defense (AAD) show last month in Tshwane, South Africa.
The U.S. Army’s plan to acquire up to 110 Airbus UH-72A Lakotas, the military variant of the EC145, as primary helicopter trainers has met with a legal challenge from AgustaWestland (AW). AW alleges, “The army has acted unlawfully and unreasonably by restricting competition to only EC145 helicopters and by not opening the competition for its requirements to other helicopter manufacturers.”
OK, so it wasn’t an accident; it’s just that the NASA folks are getting rather good at intentionally crashing helicopters. The latest in its series of engineered rotorcraft crashes was conducted earlier this month when the agency dropped the more than four-and-a-half-ton fuselage of a former U.S. Navy CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter for the second time in little more than a year.
The two industry teams the U.S. Army selected to build advanced rotorcraft designs under its joint multi-role technology demonstration (JMR-TD) revealed details of their proposals during the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual meeting this week in Washington, D.C. Bell Helicopter displayed a full-scale mockup of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor.
The latest and most capable version of the U.S. Army’s Apache attack helicopter could possibly take on more of a role in joint operations with the Navy. Among planned upgrades, the fire-control radar of the AH-64E Guardian will be enhanced to work in the littoral environment close to shore, said the service’s Apache project manager.
MD Helicopters announced contract awards from the U.S. Army to supply and arm MD530F helicopters for the Afghan Air Force. With the U.S. drawing down forces in Afghanistan, the armed helicopters “will expand armed escort, scout attack and close air attack capabilities in support of an increasing operational tempo in the region,” the manufacturer said.
Russian Helicopters has announced major investments in its factories. Kazan Helicopters has inaugurated a $13 million painting and finishing workshop. In Perm, Reductor-PM has started building a new gearbox and transmission assembly and testing facility. Russian Helicopters, which held a 796-aircraft backlog as of June 30, invested $220 million in production capacity last year.
AgustaWestland is preparing to make a big splash in the executive helicopter market when deliveries of its new AW169 medium twin begin next year. The company already claims a 65-percent world market share in recent years for twins with VIP and executive interiors and it is counting on the new helicopter to add to it.
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