12 Apr 17. US Army awards Milestone B to Chinook Block 2. The US Army has awarded Milestone B approval to formally initiate the CH-47F/MH-47G Chinook Block 2 programme, Jane’s was told on 11 April.
Randy Rotte, director of Chinook Global Sales & Marketing, said that the decision to move the Block 2 from the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) to the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase was made the week before.
“The US Army approved Milestone B for Block 2 on 5 April, so it is now a programme-of-record. Once Congress passes its budget, the EMD contract can be signed in the next few weeks. This will lead through to the Milestone C low-rate initial production [LRIP] decision in 2021, with a fielding date of about 2023 for the first deliveries,” Rotte told Jane’s.
While the specifics of Block 2 have not yet been publically disclosed, Boeing has previously told Jane’s that it is looking at including the Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade (ACRB), which features geometry and a new asymmetric aerofoil to increase the lift by about 900 kg per blade (5,400 kg for the helicopter). Block 2 will also open the door to an improved engine for the Chinook, via the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) programme.
Essentially though, Block 2 will be an evolutionary improvement of the CH-47F/MH-47G that will capitalise on what has gone before without reinventing the wheel. Indeed, Rotte has told Jane’s before that none of the capabilities being proposed are high-risk technologies.
Once Block 2 is in service, the US Army’s earlier Block Chinooks will likely be upgraded to the Block 2 configuration for a common standard across the fleet, and the standard will likely be offered to foreign customers also. To date, the US Army has received 460 of its planned 473 CH-47F Chinooks, with production set to run through to about 2019. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 17. India pushes for stronger ties with Russia to support Su-30MKI fighters. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said stronger ties between Indian and Russian aerospace companies are required to boost support for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) expanding fleets of Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft, which are produced locally under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Citing parliamentary comments by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, the MoD said on 11 April that it has identified a total of 485 components and parts on the Su-30MKI aircraft that could be produced by Indian private-sector companies following technology transfers from Russia.
“Towards this, 20 Indian vendors have been introduced to the Russian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to find out the feasibility of transfers of technology in the fields desired by Indian vendors,” said the MoD.
It added that it has requested Russia to consider permitting the OEMs to “establish joint ventures or other means of localisation with Indian private industry partners [to] manufacture [the Su-30MKI] spare parts through transfers of technology”.
The MoD’s moves to promote stronger industrial links to support the Su-30MKI were revealed one year after India’s state-owned HAL signed an agreement with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and United Engine Corporation (UEC) to enhance after-sale support for the Su-30MKI aircraft.
The MoD said this agreement had emphasised HAL’s procurement of spare parts for the aircraft. It added, “The agreement signed by HAL with Russian OEMs is for the long-term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance for five years [but] does not cover any technology transfers.”
The MoD said that despite this, the HAL-Russian agreement would enable the Indian company to procure the required spares “based on the price catalogues directly from the OEMs … and boost after-sales service by reducing lead time in procurement of spares significantly”.
In addition, Jane’s reported in January that HAL is in talks with Russian industry representatives about a potenti