AgustaWestland has confirmed reports that certification of the AW609 civil tiltrotor has been pushed out to 2017, a one-year delay. A company spokesman told AIN that the schedule change is the result of numerous upgrades being made to the design in terms of aerodynamics and systems, including new engines, avionics and fly-by-wire flight controls.
Innovation at AgustaWestland, according to Robert Farnese, company market positioning and promotion manager, comprises two elements. “First, you need to have an idea that works,” he told a Paris Air Show audience on Tuesday. “Second, you have to execute that idea.” He then added a caveat: “You must also master the present and have a vision for the future.”
At a briefing here Monday, the Pentagon’s V-22 Osprey program manager presented a long list of countries that had shown some interest in acquiring the Bell-Boeing tiltrotor. Marine Corps Col. Greg Masiello cautioned that only Israel had firmed up a contract and that his office’s contact with some of the others was still in the early stages. Nevertheless, the list is interesting and worth repeating: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, U.A.E. and the UK.
The U.S. Marine Corps demonstrated the capability of the V-22 Osprey to operate to allied nation platforms by landing the tiltrotor on the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga and dock landing ship JS Shimokita on June 14. MV-22 Ospreys performed takeoffs and landings on the ships during Dawn Blitz 2013, a multinational amphibious exercise off the coast of California. Japan and France are among nations that have expressed interest in acquiring the tiltrotor, including “more than three” nations that are holding serious discussions, U.S.
AgustaWestland’s all-electric ducted fan Project Zero tiltrotor demonstrator is at the Paris Air Show, seen “in the flesh” for the first time.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) awarded the Bell Boeing team a five-year contract on June 12 to supply 99 V-22 Osprey tiltrotors. The second multiyear procurement (MYPII) contract, with an earlier $1.4 billion contract award in December, has a total value of $6.5 billion. It specifies 92 MV-22s for the Marine Corps and seven CV-22s for the Air Force for delivery through September 2019.
The U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate selected Bell Helicopter Textron, a Boeing-Sikorsky team and AVX Aircraft among contractors invited to participate in the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) program with new rotorcraft designs, the companies confirmed. They expect the Army will award JMR-TD contracts by September. The first demonstrator flights are planned in 2017.
Terrafugia, the developer of the Transition roadable airplane, says it is designing a hybrid electric/fossil-fuel-powered flying car in the form of a tiltrotor. The TF-X would use electric drive on the ground and for power assist on takeoff. After reaching cruise, the twin tiltrotor pods would fold their propellers flat while a rear-mounted engine-driven shrouded fan would provide propulsion.
Following Israeli requests for advanced defense equipment, the U.S. has agreed “an unprecedented release of capabilities,” according to a senior Pentagon official. Israel will receive Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotors; KC-135 tankers; AESA radar retrofits for its F-15 and F-16 fighters; and anti-radiation missiles. The new approvals were made public during U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Israel and other countries in the Middle East this week.
Bell Helicopter unveiled its next-generation tiltrotor on April 10 at the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) annual convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Bell intends to enter the V-280 Valor in the U.S.