The program to provide new VIP helicopters for the U.S. president has taken a step forward with first flight of an “operational pilot-production example” of the Lockheed Martin VH-71. The three-engine helicopter, which is based on the AgustaWestland AW101 (born as the European Helicopter Industries EH 101), had its maiden flight at the AgustaWestland factory in Yeovil, England, on September 23.
The Europrop TP400 engine that has been fitted to a C-130 testbed at Cambridge, UK, by Marshall Aerospace ran at full power for the first time last week. But unanticipated problems integrating the 11,000-shp powerplant on the C-130 have further delayed the A400M program.
Ahead of schedule and under budget, Boeing delivered the first of an expected 85 operational models of its EF-18G Growler to the U.S. Navy in early June, followed by three more during July and August. Electronic attack squadron VAQ-129 based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, received the aircraft, which are expected to enter operational evaluation in September as the fleet readiness squadron fills out to five aircraft.
Dean Borgman, president of Sikorsky Aircraft since 1998, has been appointed chairman of the company. Named to succeed him as president is Stephen Finger, who previously served as president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engines business. Both appointments took effect last month.
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.
The FAA has granted avionics display provider Barco FAR Part 145 repair station authorization at the Belgium company’s service center in Duluth, Ga. The approval enables Barco to perform maintenance on control display units and flight displays used in a variety of airplanes, including the Pilatus PC-12, Grob SPn, Boeing 737-700, Lockheed C-130J and Lockheed C-5.
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.
Lockheed Martin has chosen Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 4 C14a) to supply its TacView portable mission display to meet current and future C-130J mobile display system requirements. Compact and weighing less than four pounds, TacView brings paperless cockpit operations to military environments, while increasing crew efficiency by reducing cockpit workload.
Further delay to the Airbus A400M military transport now seems inevitable. “There’s an obvious risk of slippage,” Carlos Suarez, head of EADS Military Transport Aircraft (MTA), said here at Farnborough. The first A400M ceremonially rolled out from the brand-new final assembly line building at Seville, Spain, on June 26.
Northrop Grumman’s defensive systems division has delivered the first of a new generation of Plug and Play II video datalinks for use with the Litening AT and Litening G4 targeting pods.