The UK Army has deployed a new handheld surveillance helicopter, known as the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle, in support of British troops serving in Afghanistan.
Measuring around 4inx1in (10cmx2.5cm), the small helicopter has been designed to deliver crucial situational awareness capabilities to soldiers operating on the ground.
UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said: “Black Hornet gives our troops the benefits of surveillance in the palm of their hands. It is extremely light and portable whilst out on patrol.
“Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems are a key component in our ten-year equipment plan and now that we have balanced the defence budget we are able to confidently invest in these kinds of cutting-edge technologies.”
(For full article please see: http://www.army-technology.com)
The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has said that it is on track to deliver its badly needed new A400M transport plane to the French air force in the second quarter of this year, after its latest problems with engines were resolved.
“We have overcome this engine problem, which had delayed certification” of a cutting-edge plane that could mark a big step forward in logistics capacity for the eight countries that have bought it, Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier told a news conference in Toulouse, southern France.
Test flights that had been suspended for several months were “resumed in November, and we totaled 300 test hours in 26 days,” Bregier noted. “The first delivery to France was pushed back slightly from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2013,” he said.
France in particular needs to get the A400M into service, as its limited airlift capacity was demonstrated again by the conflict in Mali, where Belgium, Britain, Denmark and Germany have extended help delivering material and troops from France and contributing African countries.
The four-engine aircraft was designed to replace C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall cargo planes and can perform three major roles, according to Airbus, including tactical missions that require the ability to land at “austere airfields,” such as soft or rough strips as short as 750 meters (2,500 feet) with a payload of up to 25 tons (55,000 pounds). That makes the plane suited for direct deployment on humanitarian aid missions to disaster-hit regions.
In a strategic role, the plane can fly up to 8,700 kilometers (5,400 miles) with a payload of up to 37 tons (81,600 pounds), including disassembled helicopters or two heavy armored vehicles, and reach altitudes of up to 40,000 feet (12,000 meters).
Finally, the A400M can be adapted in two hours for use as an air refueling tanker able to serve two planes or helicopters at a time. In an airdrop capacity, the transport plane can operate from as high as 40,000 feet for special operations purposes to as low as 15 feet for low-level load deliveries, Airbus said, and “can carry more paratroopers than any other Western-built military aircraft,” with 116 fully equipped soldiers.
A total of 174 of the planes have been ordered to date, with four currently in the final assembly stage and scheduled for delivery this year.
(For full article please see: http://www.defensenews.com)
The European Union (EU) is planning to release a roadmap for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) air traffic by the end of 2012, which will enable UAVs to fly in the same airspace as general air traffic by 2016.
European Defence Agency research and technology director Christian Breant was quoted by Defense News as saying that the officials preparing future technologies and those devising future regulations have been working since early September 2012 to rapidly develop the roadmap.
The officials are expected to determine the cost of putting the roadmap into practice in early 2013, Breant added.
The project is expected to achieve initial capability with some restrictions in 2016, followed by full operational capability by 2020.
Pursued as part of a European Framework Cooperation agreement, which was signed between the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Commission, the project is an effort to further improve civil-military cooperation in research and technology domains.
Other programme partners include the European Commission (EC), Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Funding for the project is expected to be provided through the EU’s civilian Horizon 2020 programme and the EDA’s joint investment programme.
(For full article please see: http://www.airforce-technology.com)
While the Army All-American Bowl showcased the talents of top-ranked high school football players from across the nation, the Army displayed its top technologies and innovations in the Army Strong Zone just outside the Alamodome.
One of those innovations is the FED, which stands for fuel efficient demonstrator.
“We are proudly supporting the Army’s All-American Bowl efforts again this year,” said Derhun Sanders, communications and outreach director at the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as TARDEC. “It is an honor to show off the art of the possible with our demonstrator vehicle.”
TARDEC has two versions of the vehicle, known as FED Alpha and FED Bravo. The Alpha version was on display in the Army Strong Zone.
“The FED does the same mission as an up-armored Humvee,” said Rachel Agusti, lead project engineer. “It’s a little more current because it has v-body hulls, underbody shaping for blasts as well as export power and it does that mission 70 percent more fuel efficient.”
The vehicle features a number of fuel-saving technologies including:
— Goodyear low-rolling-resistance tires which minimize the energy wasted as heat between the tire and the road
— optimized Cummins super/turbocharged 200-horsepower, 4.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder diesel engine
— Alcoa Defense lightweight aluminum monocoque armored cab with underbody blast shield
— performance friction low-drag aluminum brake calipers
— REM Chemical Isotropic Superfinishing gears — a finishing process often used in racing vehicles to reduce friction and vibration and improve shifting
— Continental Teves accelerator force feedback pedal, which cues the drive to accelerate the vehicle for optimal efficiency
— carbon fiber body panels, which reduce weight and increase rigidity
“Those technologies can be used on current platforms and future platforms to help increase their fuel efficiency,” Agusti said. “So this [demonstrator vehicle] isn’t something that will go into production, it’s something that is furthering technology.”
One of the goals of the Army All-American Bowl is encourage students to consider studying the science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields, known as STEM.
The FED concept vehicle was just one of several technology demonstrations provided by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command in the Army Strong Zone.
(For full article please see: http://www.army.mil)
The test flight was carried out at Airbus Military’s facility in Seville, Spain.
The winglets – short extensions to wingtips of the aircraft – are expected to enhance the aircraft’s performance during take-off, climb and cruise phases of flight through improvement in the lift-drag ratio.
Additional potential in-service benefits include enhanced hot and high runway performance, increased range and endurance, as well as lowered operating costs.
The flight data is currently being analysed by the company, and together with data from future flights, will serve as the basis for a decision on incorporation of winglets into the C295 design.
If found to be beneficial, the winglets are anticipated to be installed onboard newly developed C295 aircraft, and can also be offered as a retrofit option to its existing operators, Flight Global has reported.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines, the C-295 is a tactical military transport aircraft designed to carry out tactical airlift, search and rescue, and maritime patrol and environmental surveillance missions in all weather conditions.
(To see full article please view: http://www.airforce-technology.com)
The Airbus Military-built A400M military transport aircraft has successfully completed a function and reliability (F&R) flight-testing programme, marking a step forward towards achieving full certification.
Conducted using the first production-representative aircraft, MSN6/Grizzly 5, under conditions of normal in-service environments, the 300-hour F&R testing lasted over one month and included 52 flights across ten different airfields.
The comprehensive testing confirmed improved reliability of the aircraft’s systems and Europrop International’s TP400 turboprop engines under demanding conditions.
The F&R trails help to reduce risk to operational crews, particularly those faced on new aircraft that enter service.
Airbus Military’s flight and integration tests head Fernando Alonso said the aircraft conducted two flights and 15 flight hours per day over a 26-day timeframe, with only six days to carry out routine maintenance activities.
”The crews have been greatly impressed with the performance of the on-board systems and engines, and we are confident that we have a sound basis for completing the civil and military certification in the next couple of months,” Alonso added.
Airbus is planning to deliver a total of four A400M aircraft starting from second quarter of 2013, including three for the French Air Force (ALA) and one to Turkey.
(For full article please see: http://www.airforce-technology.com)
Soldiers from the UK Army’s Air Corps reservists have conducted the first test flight of the new AW159 Wildcat Lynx helicopter during their annual training exercise to experience operational procedures.
The helicopter is expected to enter service in 2014, with the helicopter flight test offering reservists an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the aircraft’s refuelling and resupply capabilities.
An upgraded variant of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter, the AW159 Lynx Wildcat is designed to provide support during battlefield utility, search and rescue, as well as anti-surface warfare missions in all weather conditions.
Powered by two LHTEC CTS800 turboshaft engines, the 6t helicopter features a robust airframe, fully integrated avionics, a glass cockpit, a new composite tailboom, tailplane, tail rotor, nose structure and avionics suite.
(For full article please see: http://www.army-technology.com)
EVTO will be conducted for four months to validate the new systems, which will eventually be integrated into the Light Army Aviation’s (ALAT) entire fleet of 20 cougar helicopters.
The upgraded aircraft feature enhanced avionics, to make them compliant with European standards for general air traffic and flight with the electro-optical sensor (SEO).
Additional systems include modernised self-defence equipment to improve responses to emerging anti-aircraft threats, as well as an information system terminal for the ALAT.
Out of the seven upgraded Cougars, six will be delivered to the army, with the remaining aircraft operated by the French Air Force.
Powered by two Turbomeca Makila 1A2 engines, the AS532 Cougar is a medium-weight multipurpose helicopter primarily designed for tactical troop transport missions during day and night.
The Cougar is an upgraded variant of the SA 330 Puma helicopter, and can also be configured to perform search-and-rescue missions in conflict locations or disaster relief efforts in affected areas.
(To see full article: http://www.army-technology.com)
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Our Military Radar conference, now in its 10th year, is a firm fixture in the calendar of international military radar specialists. With a track record of attracting the key players in industry, procurement and development as well as providing feedback from military users, Military Radar 2012 is a valuable opportunity to learn about military radar systems, their integration onto platforms and their military applications.
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* Military Applications: Diversity Means Superiority (14:00-17:00)
* Chair: Dr Stephen Moore, Radar Team Leader, Joint Systems Department, DSTL
(For further details please see: https://www.asdevents.com)