In an apparent effort to assuage British pressure to adopt the Anglo-Italian EH-101 as the follow-on to the White House’s aged fleet of Sikorsky VH-3S operated as Marine One for Presidential transport, Sikorsky has quietly agreed to add some British content to the S-92s it would modify for that mission.
SkyTrac’s automated flight following and satellite communication system has received FAA STC and Transport Canada Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) approval for installation in Robinson R22s and R44s. SkyTrac is already approved for installation in various AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky models.
The Polish Ministry of Health has ordered 23 Eurocopter EC 135s for its nationwide EMS network. Deliveries will be spread over 2009 and 2010. The
Eurocopter has announced it will take over Motorflug Baden-Baden, a German helicopter MRO specialist. The firm has bases in Baden-Baden, Rheinmünster and Schönhagen, near Berlin. It will become part of Eurocopter’s service and support business. The manufacturer intends to continue to provide MRO services to all Motorflug customers’ helicopters, whatever the brand.
Yesterday AgustaWestland and Boeing signed an agreement to jointly manufacture the Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopter for the Italian army. AgustaWestland serves as the prime for the Italian contract, and takes responsibility for design and systems integration, plus delivery. Boeing Rotorcraft Systems plans to build the Chinook fuselages at its plant at Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.
India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL, here at chalet R1) now has the military utility version of its Dhruv helicopter certified with an IAI-made glass cockpit. “We have delivered 10 to the Indian army,” chief test pilot Chandra Upadhyay told AIN. The Army’s pilots have started training and plan to be ready to operate with the new cockpit within two or three months, he added.
Germany’s MTU Aero Engines has taken an 18 percent stake in the GE38 turboshaft engine powering the Sikorsky CH-53 Super Stallion heavylift helicopter, marking its first entry into a U.S. military engine program. Under the agreement, MTU, which has previously manufactured components only for U.S. military engines, will have responsibility for the power turbine module.
Russia’s Oboronprom Corporation and AgustaWestland announced the signing of a heads of agreement for the joint final assembly of the AW139 medium twin helicopter in a still-to-be-built factory near Moscow. According to Oboronprom director general Andrey Reus, outlined plans call for a production rate of 24 helicopters per year.
Boeing has begun flight-testing the AH-64D Block III, the latest variant of the Apache gunship helicopter. The first flight occurred at Mesa, Arizona, on June 27. The Block III modernization initiative moved forward in response to the cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche, and uses funds and technology redirected from that program.
Lockheed Martin’s Pathfinder flight team began preparations this week to demonstrate the system to the U.S. Army in a developmental and limited-user evaluation. Pathfinder is a pilotage aid based on the M-TADS/PNVS used in the AH-64 Apache, but intended for cargo and utility aircraft. It gives pilots FLIR-based imagery on a helmet display for safer flight in reduced-vision environments, including brown-out conditions.