Sikorsky performed a ceremonial rollout of the S-97 Raider helicopter at West Palm Beach on October 2. The aircraft is one of two prototypes that are based on the company’s X2 rigid coaxial rotor plus pusher-propeller technology demonstrator that broke the rotary-wing world speed record in 2010. Sikorsky is proposing the Raider as a replacement for the U.S. Army’s large fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors armed aerial scouts, and for special operations.
Russian Helicopters and Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies have started testing the Mi-171A2 helicopter with KBO-17 avionics. The first flights of the upgraded Mi-171 will take place in Moscow. The medium-twin helicopter features a five-display suite and an obstacle warning system. With the new system, the required crew is reduced to two. Certification, once slated for this year, has been postponed to 2015.
After a number of delays, Russian Helicopters is reevaluating four helicopter programs that were slated for certification this year or next, namely the Ka-226, Ka-62, Mi-171A2 and Mi-38. The company is conducting “an analysis and assessment of all its new programs to determine more precisely time frames for certification and the start of serial production,” a spokesman told AIN.
The much-publicized fatal accident of Tatarstan Airlines Flight 363, a Boeing 737, at Kazan International Airport on November 17, 2013, has resulted in a big re-shuffle of aviation assets in the Republic of Tatarstan. The flight had been operated on behalf of Ak Bars Aero, which has its head office in Bugulma in Tatarstan (part of the Russian Federation).
India on August 29 approved industrial offset proposals to acquire 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters for the Indian Air Force, a transaction valued at $2.5 billion.
The U.S. Army awarded Boeing a $234 million foreign military sales contract to supply 24 AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopters to Saudi Arabia, affirming a long pending order. The Department of Defense announced the contract award on August 29; the estimated contract completion date is Dec. 31, 2016.
Northrop Grumman will supply mission avionics for 700 to 900 U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters, upgrading them to a UH-60V designation, the company said. Redstone Defense Systems, of Huntsville, Ala., awarded the contract of undisclosed value.
AgustaWestland is displaying two of its lighter helicopters here at the LABACE show in the form of a Power and a GrandNew, and will also unveil the cabin interior for its new AW169 helicopter. Interior configurations and entertainment options will be promoted for the 4.5-metric-ton light/intermediate machine.
Bell’s Model 505 Jet Ranger X is making its Brazilian debut here at the LABACE show, at least in full-scale mock-up form. The company expects to fly the light single helicopter by the end of the year, and hopes that it can repeat the success of the original JetRanger that became a true “classic” of the rotary-wing world. The 505 is intended for a wide range of tasks, such as training, law enforcement, corporate/VIP transport and utility work, for which a 1,500-pound cargo hook is fitted.
Russian Helicopters (Booth 4030) has come to LABACE to promote its extensive portfolio of civil rotorcraft, which it claims are well suited to a variety of private, corporate and industrial uses. This year, one of the group’s key subsidiaries, Rostvertol, is celebrating its 75th anniversary–emphasizing Russia’s strong pedigree in helicopter production.