At the ILA Berlin Air Show next week, Airbus Helicopters plan to reveal its initial concept for a 220kt (410km/h)-cruise helicopter developed under the EU-backed Clean Sky 2 effort. The preliminary design review was intended for program schedule in late 2015 according to research documents leaked to the general public. Originally revealed at the 2014 Farnborough air show under the LifeRCraft (low-impact, fast and efficient rotorcraft) banner, Airbus Helicopter announced its involvement in the high-speed rotorcraft project and envisioned it as the successor to the record breaking X3 high-speed demonstrator.
The X3 was last flown in 2013 after having achieved speeds of 255kt in level flight. If we are to take the details of a stakeholder presentation in March at face value, the overall responsibility for the development of the aircraft will be split between a multitudes of Airbus Helicopters operations.
Germany will be in charge of the main fuselage and wings, while the rotors - main and lateral - will be handled in the Le Bourget, France blade facility and finally the tail boom and control surfaces will be prepared by Airbus’ factory in Albacete, Spain. The document went on further to state that the project management, integration and ground-and flight-test activities will be overseen at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France.
There are three sub-projects that have been allocated approximately 4 million dollars under the most recent rounds of EC proposals which include two work packages developing canopy structure and engine compartments for the demonstrator aircraft. Avio Aero which is owned by GE Aviation will attempt to “define an advanced health monitoring system” for the lateral gearboxes and main gearbox reduction stages.
Airbus Helicopters Deutschland has always been quietly working on designs for future compound rotorcraft along with possible alternatives which include main engines and addition of nose-mounted canards to increase lift and enabling the main wing and propellors to be moved to the rear. Patent documents filed in July 2013 covers a number of configurations, all of which feature a joined or box-wing design on the side of the aircraft and pusher propellers with driveshafts from the main engine being contained in the upper wing.
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The United States military will be bringing 6-8 F-15C fighter jets to Finland for education and training with Finland’s Karelian Air Command. This will be the first time any US military aircraft will be a part of any joint exercises in Finland.
The Oregon Air National Guard will be providing the F-15C fighter jets for these overseas exercises. They have previously been called to duty during the Iraq and Afghanistan initiatives. OR ANG is a state militia that is not in the United States Air Force chain of command. They are under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Oregon stemming from its establishment in the 1940’s.
The involvement with the United States is receiving many mixed reactions. Finland has normally stood by their non-alignment policy throughout their inception in the European Union in 1995. The non-aligned policy states that Finland shall remain neutral in regards to European’s Union’s foreign, security and defense polices.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Timo Soini ensures that Finland has not initiated any of these joint exercises that the United States has been at the helm of these exercises. Mika Varvikko, another representative of Finland’s Ministry of Defense stated
“plans are still underway and may potentially include the participation of Sweden and Norway”.
This should bring an ease to the people advocating against these training exercises.
The rumor that Sweden and Norway will be participating in the exercises is a ploy to put pressure on Sweden and Finland to join NATO. Finland’s Chief of Defense Jarmo Lindeberg made an announcement to the country to step up their defense efforts due to the increasing pressure of Russian threats. Lindeberg had some reserves towards NATO’s combat readiness, claiming “their decision making mechanisms is doing badly”.
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Rolls-Royce has just announced that the company has been awarded an order worth over a billion dollars for the Trent 7000 engines and Total Care service support from Garuda Indonesia. The order was signed by his Excellency Joko Wibowo, the President of Indonesia during his visit to the United Kingdom. The order was then signed in London by President and Chief Executive Officer of Garuda Indonesia, Mr. M. Arif Wibowo and the Rolls-Royce President of Civil Aerospace, Eric Schulz who were both welcomed by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and His Excellency Joko Wibowo himself.
The Trent 7000 which is the exclusive power plant of the A33neo, also is the seventh member of the Trent family and has become the engine of choice for the wide body market over the past 20 years. Scheduled to enter service in 2017, the Trent 7000 order replaces an existing order for seven A330-300 aircrafts that are powered by the Trent 700 engines. Both Garuda and the Indonesian Civil Aviation parties recognize that there is tremendous longer term growth potential and has agreed on exploring maintenance co-operation and skills development opportunities.
Eric Schulz lauds Indonesia for having “great economic prospects” and remains resolute in Rolls-Royce’s commitment to supporting the future of air travel in Indonesia. Schulz also took a moment to marvel at the 20th anniversary of Rolls-Royce providing Trent engines to Garuda and expounded upon his pride in being able to power their fleet with this latest member of the storied Trent engine family. His Excellency Joko Wibowo believes that the contract has further strengthen and deepen the bond that Rolls-Royce shares with Garuda Indonesia. With Indonesia set to become the seventh largest economy in the world by 2030.
David Cameron wants to encourage more British businesses to tap into an incredibly fast growing economy and goes as far as to opine that they are the “fifth biggest investor in Indonesia” with potential for so much more. Currently Garuda Indonesia operates 24 Trent 700-powered A330 aircrafts with another two on order. Garuda Indonesia is the national airline of Indonesia and was named after the holy bid Garuda in reference to Hinduism which is also the national emblem of Indonesia.
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Back in October 2014, Gulfstream unveiled that they intend to produce a new business jet called the G600. Fast forward to 2016 and Gulfstream is now hard at work assembling the first G600 flight test airplane at their Savannah Georgia production facility.
The G600 is a completely new class of business jet from Gulfstream that will be among the first in company’s history to utilize fly-by-wire controls. Featuring new wings, engines, and airframe designs, the G600 takes business travel to new heights. The G600 can fly at a cruise speed of Mach 0.85 for 6,200 nautical miles or it can fly at Mach 0.90 for 4,800 nautical miles. Both estimates make the G600 faster and more fuel efficient than any other aircraft in its class. Additionally, its maximum cruise altitude is pegged at over 50,000 ft.
As for the G600 Cabin, it can be configured to accommodate up to four living spaces, and it is the only plane in its class capable of having a forward galley. Customers can also work with Gulfstream designers to fully customize each aspect of the cabin. Everything from bamboo flooring to fiber-optic lighting can be added inside the cabin.
Even the Flight Deck in the G600 features an innovative side-stick designAccording to Gulfstream.com,
“Active control sidesticks eliminate traditional pedestal-based yokes, creating more space and better comfort for pilots. Each sidestick mimics any movement the other pilot makes on his or her sidestick, providing another element of situational awareness from the visual and tactile cue of the other pilot’s actions.”
It’s older brother the G500 has already conducted over 800 hours of test flights, and once G500 development is complete, Gulfstream can begin to commit more resources towards the completion of the G600 program.
In March 2016 Boeing Co. announced that they struck a deal worth $922.6 million with the United States Army. Boeing will provide 117 remanufactured AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache was first produced in January 1984 and has gone through rigorous testing and modifications throughout its production. This new remanufactured attack helicopter consists of four-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor, which is powered by two General Electric T700 turboshaft engines.
The AH-64E Apache consists of integrated avionics and weapons, allowing for maximum usage of this multirole combat helicopter. The greatest feature is its advanced digital communication system; that allows secure, real-time transfer of information between air and ground forces.
Boeing officials state that
“The AH-64E Apache is being delivered to the U.S. Army and has been selected by several international defense forces.“
They also state that the improved AH-64E can detect objects, moving or stationary without being detected itself. Also, it bird can classify and prioritize possible threats of up to 128 targets in less than a minute.
The AH-64E Apache also went Lockheed Martin to upgrade the laser targeting for the attack helicopter. Lockheed Martin Apache Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Design Sight (M-TADS) and Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS) systems were installed on all 117 AH-64E helicopters.
The U.S. Army has used the Boeing AH-64 Apache in the Gulf Wars in 1991, Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2001, and is continuing its use in missions in Operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State ground forces. With these significant upgrades from Boeing and Lockheed, the AH 64E Apache will be a sure force to be reckoned with.
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The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has expressed their interest in acquiring a fleet of suicide drones that are equipped with cameras and/or explosives and designed to emulate the Japanese Kamikaze pilots and suicide bombers such as those involved in the terrorist campaigns during the 9/11 attacks. These suicide drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and are being developed by weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries (IA). Although there are no official plans for the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to act upon, there is significant interest and where there’s smoke there’s usually fire.
The oldest Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz reports that an Israel Aerospace Industry executive has outwardly publicized the interest and was independently confirmed by an unnamed military source. The current model in consideration for the IDF is the Rotem which is a Hebrew acronym for “attack and suicide drone”, not exactly subtle. And while a single unit can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, the UAV can land and be reused if it hasn’t already been terminated. The fiscal costs pales in comparison to the air support the UAV will provide for ground troops when a manned aircraft is not available.
In fact the most alarming bit of news is that other foreign armies have already purchased these suicide drones no doubt with the intention to utilize them to the fullest extent. Thought the IAI would not disclosed which countries have purchased the UAVs, earlier this month accusations has surfaced of a HAROP drone was used in an attack on an Armenian convoy in the heart of the Nagorno-Karabakh region embroiled in dispute and conflict.
The HAROP and HARPY are earlier models of the Rotem and is a cross between an aircraft and a missile. Israel, India, and Azerbaijan are amongst those currently said to employ the unmanned vehicles. The Golden Child Rotem is small enough that two can be effectively carried by a single soldier in his pack and can be remotely controlled on a tablet computer to either hover silently over a target or ordered to detonate an explosive on a target. Alternatively the Rotem can always come equipped with a camera to design an automatic flight path and returned with the simple push of the “back” button.
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On April 8th, 2016 Bombardier has a press release that will display three of their leading business aircrafts during this year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) which is going to be located at Hongqiao airport in China from April 12-14 2016. There aircrafts that will be shown at this exhibition are the Global 6000, Challenger 650, and Challenger 350.
Khader Matter, the vice president of Bombardier Business Aircraft sales in Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and China talks about the showcasing of these aircrafts.
“ABACE is gaining momentum every year, and once again, we are delighted to participate in full force with three of our aircraft on display.”He then goes on to talk about how doing this will reinforce their presence in the marketplace.
“With a very strong fleet of more than 120 aircraft based in Greater China, Bombardier is well-positioned to further reinforce its current presence as a world-class provider of efficiency-enhancing business aircraft in the region.”
Matter explains how much of their target and focus is going to be in China. They have a plan of how the next 10 years will pan out for Bombardier in this location.
“We expect China to be an active market in the next 10 years. Growth in the region will be driven by the medium and large categories of aircraft and the opening of airspace for civil aviation and significant investment in airport infrastructure should help increase the demand for business jets in China.”
The Global 6000 will have the most about of cabin volume and floor space than any aircraft built in their class. Customers who order the Global 6000 will have the option of adding a shower to the aircraft. This will ensure that the passengers will be refreshed and ready for whatever they plan for at their destination.
The Challenger 650 will have redesigned galley and seats. Not only this, but the aircraft will include the largest in class high definition monitors. This aircraft has a range capability of 7,408 km.
The Challenger 350 will have a range capability of 3,200 km. This aircraft will be able to maximize the amount of natural light exposed into the interior due to its highly advanced cabin.
The U.S. Navy has extended the original contract with Orbital ATK for their production of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) multi-mode seekers by adding 556 more units expected to be delivered by 2023. According to the latest acquisition report by Pentagon, the extended contract is for an increase in planned production quantities for the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) multi-mode seekers from the original 2003 objective of 1879 units to the now proposed 2435 units in addition to the 40 test units with the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet among the aircrafts testing the AGM-88E.
This new directive will skyrocket program costs from $484.8 million to a little over $2 billion dollars. This missile modification directive was jointly developed by both the USA and by Italy to improve upon the effectiveness and efficiency of the legacy Raytheon AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) variants that were often deployed and employed against fixed and relocatable enemy radar and communication sites.
The legacy Raytheon AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) variants were especially useful and effective against those that would automatically shut down to throw off detection from incoming anti-radiation missiles. The new Orbital ATK AARGM is not only compatible with all F/A-18 models and the EA-18G Growler, but is also compatible with the F-16, EA-6B, Panavia Tornado and will be carried externally on the F-35. It will also be attached to the existing Mach-2 capable rocket motor and warhead section. This will allow it to add a passive anti-radiation homing receiver coupled with the satellite/inertial navigation system and a millimeter wave radar for the terminal guidance. This will allow the new seeker to beam up images of a target via satellite link in just seconds before impact.
The Orbital ATK AARGM went into full-rate production in 2012 and with the new proposed extension to by the U.S. Navy contract to Orbital ATK production is set to continue well into the fiscal year of 2023. Raytheon also produces an alternative modification kit known as the HARM Control Section Modification (HCSM) that it supplies to the U.S. Air Force in conjunction with U.S. Navy.
A Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC), is starting to utilize cloud technology and big data in order to build safer airplanes. The Chinese aircraft manufacturer is shifting their focus on to how to effectively minimize safety risks which are often caused by abnormal human error. They are also investigating ways on how to completely recover crucial data necessary for analyzing an air crash.
"The time for revolution in aviation safety has come,"
said the president and executive director of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China America Corporation, Wei Ye.
Just recently a year ago, the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety of France (BEA) started an investigation which recently confirmed that the crash of an airplane for Germanwings, a budget German airline, was intentionally caused by its co-pilot, who was suffering from depression at that time. This incident resulted in the Airbus 320 crashing in southern France while traveling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf on March 24, 2015, killing all 150 people on board.
COMAC America Corporation is analyzing ways of creating an “unmanned flight with human supervision” by utilizing a big data-based computer in order to reduce such risk caused by human factors. This computer would operate in its own closed environment that would not be subject to influence from the outside.
"Without the influence of pilots' 'emotions' and mishandling, a computer-piloted plane is safer than a manned one,"said Ye.
These big data computers would consist of a hard-drive with vital information including weather information, flight routes, emergency processing programs, as well as flight data accumulated in 20 years of 200 pilots. Such computer-piloted airplanes may be the “pilot” of the future.
Two professors at the University of Toronto are currently developing an airplane design that is aimed at increasing fuel economy/efficiency. This breakthrough could literally save hundreds of millions of liters of fuel which in turn will save exponentially more in terms of the amount of money we will save. This development will also greatly reduce the environmental impact of operating an aircraft by making it more green-friendly.
Craig Steeves and Philippe Lavoie are professors and members of the Centre for Research in Sustainable Aviation at U of T’s institute for Aerospace Studies. The two professors are currently focusing on designing an ultra –light airplane design that will consist of lightweight materials which will allow air flow optimization over the tail fins and wings. With more than 100,000 commercial flights taking off and consuming over 100,000 liters of fuel or more every day, once can see the significant impact this new design will have on the Aerospace world. Even a slight improvement in fuel efficiency would severely cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and not only save the environment but also billions of dollars for airlines/passengers, carriers and customers alike. An obvious way to improve fuel economy is to make the planes lighter.
This can be accomplished by using stronger yet lighter materials. Collaborating with Glenn Hibbard, Professor Steeves has begun designing materials that are similar to the scaffolding used on the Statue of Liberty/Eiffel Tower which are 3D printed polymers coated with an ultra-high strength nanocrystalline metal. Steeves believes that the advances in 3D printing have enabled engineers to design structures that are incredibly complex and complicated than any undertaking in the history of mankind.
Another way of improving fuel economy/efficiency is to improve air flow by generating and maximizing lift force during takeout and minimizing drag during cruise flight. By having actuators placed strategically along the wing’s surface on an aircraft more wind flow/control can be achieved. And while all of this is theoretical and have played out mostly in simulations, Steeves and Lavoie are confident that with time, they can improve the fuel efficiency by as much as five to ten percent which would translate into either 500 or a billion liters of jet fuel saved every single day. Talk about a game-changer.
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