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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NASA has a big project of launching an aircraft to Mars this month, but that was put on hold because they found a leak in one of the aircraft instruments. So now they next mission is supposed to be pushed towards May of 2018 which would be sending an aircraft to the Red Planet. They are still 100% sure if they will be sending the aircraft but that’s what NASA is currently aiming for their next project of launching an aircraft to Mars. They plan on sending an aircraft to Mars to study the planets interior and learn more about how the rocky world formed. The project was on track to being launched but everything came to halt in December when a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered a problem in one of the landers two main instruments.
The instrument was designed to measure quakes on Mars and also extremely tiny ground movements but it was said that the leaks were big enough that they would prevent NASA from accomplishing the mission. So now the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is taking over the vacuum failure to redesign it and construct the failed vacuum. NASA has concluded with saying that it will not delay the agency’s next mission to Mars in 2020.
Airbus has been focusing on the loading of airplanes in order to achieve faster boarding. They have recently had an idea patented in which there would be a redesign to its airplane which would allow for passengers to be preloaded into a cabin. Once the passengers are preloaded into the cabin, the cabin is then lowered into the bed of a plane.
Here is the example that Rowley gives to provide a better understanding of this idea.
“Think of it like trucking, where the cargo is interchangeable - only the cargo is people and the truck is a commercial airplane.”
This patent was filled on February 28th, 2013 in the United States Patent and Trademark Office as was published on November 24th, 2015. Although this idea is very revolutionary, it does not seem to be an idea that will materialize very soon.
Ars Technica UK has an opinion on the patent that can be considered.
"Turnaround time is one of the main limiting factors on how many flights can be flown each day: if an airline could squeeze in another flight, or even just reduce the number of late-in-the-day flights being delayed that would be a huge deal."
Airbus was founded in December 18, 1970 in Blagnac, France with founders Roger Béteille, Henri Ziegler, and Bernard Lathière. They are known for their Airbus A320 model.
Rich McCormick released an article from The Verge, talking about how Jeff Bezos is planning to have tourist in space in the beginning of 2018. Jeff Bezos founded the privately owned space travel company, Blue Origin. According to journalists from the New York Times, Jeff Bezos mentioned groups over of six tourists will be able to take short trips into space in about two years so they can experience weightlessness.
According to the Guardian, it will be 2017 when the company will first pilots will be shot into space by Blue Origin’s rockets. The Blue Origin rockets will be using the BE-4 engine, which is their newest engine. It seems as if the company as no shortage of customers as many have shown much interest in paying for a weightlessness experience in outer space.
Although Blue Origin is in the back-seat in terms of the public eye, they are very welcoming to customers. Jeff Bezos says, “We will not be strangers.” In fact, they have done very well in comparison to SpaceX when it came to landing and launching a rocket into space. Here is what McCormick has said.
“SpaceX has attempted the same feat with its Falcon 9 rocket several times, but has only stuck the landing once, and is yet to send the same ship off our planet twice.”
Although the two companies have a little bit of a rivalry, Bezos says "space is really easy to overhype."
U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has awarded Aurora Flight Sciences with a contract worth up to $90 million to build a prototype hybrid electric-powered aircraft. This will be carried out under the VTOL X-Plane project which is the designated Aurora Flight Sciences vertical takeoff and landing experimental plane which Aurora is planning on flight testing in 2018.
The VTOL X-Plane Project is aimed to develop and integrate the novel aircraft subsystems in hopes of improving vertical and horizontal-cruise flight. Aurora was awared the second and third phase contract by the Department of Defense on March 3rd.
There were three companies in direct contention for the contract but U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) refused to identify who the losing bidders were. Per Darpa’s specification the VTOL X-Plane is required to have a top sustained flight speed of at least 300 and up to 400 knots, improve their hover efficiency from 60% to at least 75%, improve their cruise lift-to drag ration and have the capacity to carry a load of at least 4,800lbs, which is roughly 40% of the vehicle’s projected gross weight.
The aircraft’s design will required feature parts 2 large rear wings, 2 smaller front canards, a Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine, 3 Honeywell generators, 24 ducted fans, an electric distributed propulsion (EDP), Synchronous electric drive systems which will rotate and the wings/canards to direct fan thrust where needed and . Darpa’s program manager Ashish Bagai believes that should the VTOL X-Plane project prove successful, it will a momentous and radical breakthrough in vertical and horizontal-cruise flight for the aviation and aerospace industry.