Newly acquired Boeing Chinook CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters supplied to the royal Netherlands air force are to be fitted with a state-of-the-art modular pod designed to protect it from missiles fired by hostile ground forces.
Boeing has selected Crane Aerospace & Electronics (Hall 5, Stand A20) to supply tire- and brake-monitoring (TBMS) and AirWeighs onboard weight-and-balance systems for Model 777 aircraft. Deliveries of TBMS-equipped aircraft began last month, while AirWeighs, which is to be a standard production-line fit on 777F cargo variants, will enter service when deliveries begin in late 2008.
The MiG-29M flying here with its Klimov RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines is a testbed for the technology, which is available as an option on the company’s flagship MiG-35 fighter.
In the fighter aircraft business, there’s no substitute for combat experience, if you want to impress potential customers. The Dassault Rafale has now dropped bombs in anger as part of NATO’s stabilization effort in Afghanistan.
In 2006, orders for Russian armaments totaled $30 billion, while aggregate military exports exceeded the target figure by 20 percent, setting a record of $6.5 billion. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the country has all the preconditions to become the leader of the world arms market.
Since the dramatic cancellation of the stealthy Comanche attack helicopter in 2004, U.S. Army aviation has used the released funds to embark on a major rejuvenation by modernizing and augmenting the existing AH-64, UH-60 and CH-47 fleets, as well as procuring two new types.
Boeing is confident that its HH-47 rotorcraft will be reconfirmed as the winner of the
potential $10 billion U.S. Air Force combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) competition. But even without adding the 141 helicopters required for CSAR, the evergreen Chinook looks set for at least two more decades of production for the U.S. Army and international customers.
Training pilots to fly combat jets is an expensive proposition. A proposal by European air chiefs to cut costs by combining forces has made only slow progress. However, two well established multinational training programs are readily available in North America. Meanwhile, “downloading” and “contractorization” are the prevailing buzzwords, as all air forces try to rationalize their flight training systems.
Visitors to Alenia Aermacchi, part of the Finmeccanica stand here at Le Bourget, will find the same M-311 lightweight jet basic/advanced trainer avionics demonstrator the company showed two years ago. However, the program has moved forward since then, with advancements in both the commercial and technical fields.
AgustaWestland and Eurocopter have confirmed “their joint commitment to the NH90 program,” the two companies announced here at Heli-Expo’07. They will ensure that commitment is reaffirmed during meetings planned during the next few weeks between the NATO Helicopter Management Agency and government representatives. The NH90 backlog stands at 445 firm and 100 options ordered by 18 armed forces in 14 countries.