A Russian-owned Mi-8 helicopter being flown on July 31 in support of the United Nations World Food Program crashed in Ethiopia while en route to South Sudan. The helicopter was carrying four people–two pilots and two passengers–at the time of the accident. The extent of injuries to those aboard was not reported.
Bell Helicopter is providing more details on the Short Light Single (SLS) helicopter it announced at the Paris Air Show in June. Performance goals for the SLS include a speed of 125 knots, a range of 360 to 420 nm, a useful load of 1,500 pounds and a ceiling of 11,000 feet.
The bid deadline for the U.S. Navy’s high-profile VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program closed on August 1 with apparently only one bidder—Sikorsky Aircraft—submitting a proposal. The Navy declined to identify the number of bids received, but other companies that had earlier announced plans to compete for the VXX contract confirmed that they have decided not to submit proposals.
Contract negotiations between the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and AVX Helicopter, Bell Helicopter and the Sikorsky/Boeing team–the potential Phase I vendors for the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD)–are nearing completion. Announcement of the awards for a new U.S. Army medium helicopter are planned for September, according to an Army spokesman.
Landslides and flooding in the mountains of North India in mid-June that killed approximately 10,000 and stranded more than 80,000 triggered the largest-ever search-and-rescue operation by the Indian military. The more than 60 aircraft involved in the operation contended with treacherous weather, low visibility and strong winds; high-tension wires; and no infrastructure or lights on the ground in perilous landing zones with no helipads.
European aerospace behemoth EADS has aligned its brand with its aircraft manufacturing division to become simply Airbus Group, and is also applying the Airbus brand to its two other main divisions. Thus, Eurocopter will become Airbus Helicopters, and the defense and space divisions, Cassidian and Astrium, will be merged into one unit–Airbus Defence and Space–representing the third division.
The German defense ministry ordered 15 Eurocopter EC645T2 light utility helicopters worth €194 million. They will be used by the Kommando Spezialkraefte, Germany’s Special Forces Command. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2015 and run through mid-2017.
The first ICH-47F Chinook helicopter destined for the Italian army made its maiden flight on June 24 at Vergiate, in northern Italy, program prime contractor AgustaWestland announced.
The French Army is expected to confirm an option for 34 more Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) versions of the NH Industries NH-90 helicopter, when the 2013 French defense spending program is published shortly. The French have already bought 34 TTHs, as well as 27 NATO Frigate Helicopters (NFHs).
Nineteen people, including 11 children, were killed when a Russian-built Mi-8 helicopter operated by Polar Airlines crashed July 2 after a hard landing in eastern Siberia. Nine other people aboard survived the accident. The helicopter carried a crew of three. Russian aviation authorizes said the helicopter was performing a regular passenger flight from the town of Deputatsky to Kazachye.