After a difficult period in which the whole program’s future lay in doubt, AgustaWestland’s Future Lynx has emerged with a new name–AW159 Lynx Wildcat–and renewed optimism. The aircraft was selected by the UK Ministry of Defence in May 2006 to fulfill its battlefield reconnaissance helicopter requirement for the British Army, and a surface combatant maritime rotorcraft requirement for the Royal Navy.
Eurocopter has distanced itself from Chinese partner Avicopter on their joint seven-ton-class civil helicopter program saying the EC 175 and the Z15 will be “two different aircraft.” In a press conference held next to the EC 175 mockup here at the Paris Air Show, executive vice president for commercial programs Joseph Saporito also confirmed the first flight will take place by year-end.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services has opened a rotary- and fixed-wing avionics center of excellence at its Derco Aerospace facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company announced on Monday. Sikorsky Aerospace Services acts as the aftermarket business of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
Turbomeca is pressing ahead with a radical design for a new generation of helicopter engines to deliver a quantum leap in operational efficiency. “If we do not shoot for a 30- to 50-percent improvement in fuel burn for 20 to 30 years from now, the helicopter will be no more than an airshow attraction and will no longer be a business tool,” the French company’s president Pierre Fabre told AIN.
Eurocopter has signed a new agreement on production working time with four of five unions represented at the company in France. The main goal is to adapt to higher production rates, while making provisions for possible ramp-downs. Due to numerous different arrangements in the previous agreement, there are only 4.5 hours per day when all production employees are gathered around the line.
They’ve done it with the Chinook, now they’re doing it with the Apache. Boeing expects that the AH-64 production line will still be running in 2040, thanks to a strategy that offers a continuing series of upgrades that can be efficiently incorporated on a single production line that recycles used aircraft as well as producing new ones.
Last month Sikorsky displayed a mock-up of a possible X2 Light Tactical Helicopter
(LTH) design at the Army Aviation Association of America annual convention. The mockup reflects Sikorsky’s military concept for the X2 compound helicopter research vehicle, currently in flight test. Sikorsky hopes to set a new helicopter speed record
Columbia Helicopters has dispatched one of its Boeing 234 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopters to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to assist with wildfire suppression. The helicopter is based in Cancun on a 30-day contract in partnership with Vertical Aviation of San Antonio and Scala Helicopters in Mexico City. It is Columbia’s first firefighting assignment in Mexico.
The Italian Army confirmed that it is buying 16 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters in a co-production deal with AgustaWestland that is worth approximately $1.23 billion. This is the first international sale of the CH-47F, a major upgrade to the evergreen Chinook that is already in service with the U.S. Army.
Eurocopter last month announced the acquisition of 80 percent of the shares in Japan-based distributor Euroheli, bringing the helicopter manufacturer’s stake to 90 percent. The organization has subsequently been merged with subsidiary Eurocopter Japan. Itochu, the former majority shareholder, keeps 10 percent of the company’s shares. Stéphane Ginoux, CEO of Eurocopter Japan, retains that position at Euroheli.