On March 14 the Senate passed the $52.9 billion federal highway bill (S.1803), which contains significant amendments regarding helicopter tour operations over national parks. Of particular concern is a successful amendment to the bill offered by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would give the director of the National Park Service (NPS) broad authority to regulate helicopter and fixed-wing tour flights over land under its administration as well as tribal lands, a move that the air-tour business nationwide regards as debilitating.
Sources at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego released the names of the seven soldiers killed in last week’s midair collision under clear night skies between an AH-1W “Cobra” and an UH-1Y “Huey.” A spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Miramar said the investigation is expected to take months and refused to comment on any possible causes for the collision.
Raytheon has just conducted a successful trial of its Griffin B forward-launch small precision weapon. The test demonstrated the weapon’s capability to defend a forward operating base (FOB). The Griffin was fired from a fixed Wedge launcher against target coordinates more than 2.5 miles away provided by sensors mounted on a tethered aerostat, of the type that are typically raised to protect Army FOBs. The Griffin A aft-launch version is in service with the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Harvest Hawk aircraft and the Air Force’s MC-130W Dragon Spear.
On show in the static area is Singapore’s latest air defense system, the Spyder-SR provided by Rafael. Spyder (the name derives from the Python and Derby missiles that form its armament) is a family of air defense systems based on common weapons and common software. It was devised for export, and it has been successful in several countries, including India.
It may look just like the regular Mk 82 500-pounder that is used the world over, but IMI’s MPR-500 is an altogether smarter beast. Israel Military Industries (Booth Q66) has developed a bomb that is identical to the Mk 82 in terms of form and fit, but that has an advanced warhead that offers the penetration capability of much larger weapons such as the 2,000-pound Mk 84, yet with greatly reduced collateral damage effect (CDE).
India’s big-ticket military acquisitions are expected to aggressively push schedules for the transfer of production to the country’s ambitious aerospace and defense industry. But the technology that India expects to be transferred through co-development work generated by offset agreements is raising concerns among vendors about possible violations of intellectual property rights (IPR).
Making a welcome first appearance in Singapore skies, the Smokey Bandits display team is showcasing “Malaysia’s MiGs”–five MiG-29N fighters that are performing an eight-minute routine here at the show.
This year’s military new helicopter market has been estimated to be worth $19.4 billion, according to London-based analysis firm Visiongain. The firm said here at Heli-Expo 2012 that Western countries, due to budget constraints, will focus on maintaining current fleets while emerging military powers, including South Korea, India, and China will significantly increase acquisitions and be “prominent players” over the next decade.
The U.S. strategic tilt toward the Asia Pacific region plays to Raytheon Co.’s strength in active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a key technology being used and sought by countries in the region to enhance the capabilities of their legacy fourth-generation fighters.
Rebounding from the exclusion of its AT-6 turboprop from the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) competition, Hawker Beechcraft announced on January 9 the first sale of its T-6C+ military trainer, to the Mexican Air Force.