18 Feb 16. Pentagon budget 2017: USAF requests USD2.5bn for UH-1N replacement, studies acquisition strategy. Key Points:
• The USAF is studying potential acquisition strategies to replace its UH-1N Twin Hueys
• The service is considering a sole-source contract for the portion of the fleet designated for ICBM security
The US Air Force (USAF) has budgeted nearly USD2.5bn over five years to replace its fleet of Bell UH-1N Twin Hueys and is considering a sole-source contract for the portion of the 72-aircraft requirement designated for security operations around its 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos, according to a senior service official.
“About half the fleet supports the missile fields where ICBMs are,” Lieutenant General Mike Holmes, USAF deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said during a 18 February Air Force Association event. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Feb 16. Singapore Airshow 2016: Malaysia begins preliminary evaluations of AW159. Key Points:
• Malaysia is said to have begun initial evaluations of the AW159 anti-submarine helicopter
• Evaluations may be part of the service’s effort to consider a wider variety of platforms for the requirement
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has begun preliminary evaluations of the AgustaWestland AW159 maritime and utility aircraft for the country’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters requirement, an industry source close to the matter toldIHS Jane’s at Singapore Airshow 2016.
The RMN has indicated a requirement for six ASW platforms that will be operated from its new Second Generation Patrol Vessel – Littoral Combat Ships (SGPV-LCSs).
Besides the AW159, the service is also believed to be evaluating other platforms, including the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk and the Airbus Helicopters H225M, the latter being considered to leverage on commonality in training and operations with the country’s air force, which is currently operating the EC 725 (an earlier version of the H225M, then manufactured by Eurocopter). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Feb 16. Chinese Military Interested in Dornier Seastar Amphibious Aircraft. A new assembly factory in Wuxi, China, will begin manufacturing the multi-purpose Seastar amphibious aircraft, and the Chinese military is expressing interest in the seaplane.
German-based Dornier Seawings GmbH made the announcement about the plans for joint manufacturing in China during a news conference at the Singapore Airshow. State-owned Wuxi Communications Industrial Group and Wuxi Industrial Development Group partnered with Dornier to create Dornier Seawings Company Ltd. in the city of Wuxi, Jiangsu province.
“A factory is under construction in China and will be open at the end of the year,” said Conrado Dornier, chairman of Dornier Seawings GmbH, Germany. Short- to medium-term production will be in Germany in the beginning, then gradually begin production in China, he said.
Dornier Seawings GmbH in Germany provides the “Seastar program, resources and know-how, while the Chinese partners provide the financial backing and share the entrepreneurial spirit to ensure a proper production set-up and a sustainable business model,” said a Dornier official. Production lines are currently under construction in Germany and China.
Liu Yuhai, chairman of Dornier’s China operation, told Defense News that China is interested in the aircraft.
“We are in communication with the Chinese military,” Liu said.
The Seastar has a range of 1667 kilometers (900 nautical miles) at 333km/hour (180 knots) with an endurance of 7.5 hours. It is capable of both normal runway landings and water landings at sea states of 60cm (2 feet).
As a multi-purpose aircraft, it can be used as a VIP transport, commercial, governmental/special, and corporate missions. Mission versatility includes coast guard operations, search and rescue, border patrol, counter-smuggling measures, fishery enforcement, cargo transport and off-shore operations.