10 Oct 21. Kaman announces new KARGO UAV. Kaman claims its new KARGO UAV will raise standards in expeditionary logistics. Kaman Corporation on 21 September announced the launch of a new medium-lift expeditionary logistics UAV called KARGO as a ‘distinctive’ and cost-effective addition to its family of purpose-built systems. Kaman previously completed flight development testing with a 50% scale KARGO UAV demonstrator, and it plans to test a full-scale autonomous aircraft in 2022. KARGO can perform resupply missions in combat environments thanks to its size, self-deployment capability and loading capacity of up to 800Ib (363kg) between the pod or external sling. The UAV was designed with US military future operating concepts in mind, especially for the USMC. KARGO already boasts thousands of hours of automated and autonomous flight data from Kaman’s K-MAX TITAN programme, which the manufacturer said has reduced schedule and technical risk. Near Earth Autonomy, a partner in the KARGO programme, will provide obstacle avoidance and other technologies such as precision landing, sense-and-avoid and navigation in a GPS-denied environment. (Source: Shephard)
14 Oct 21. Boeing Accredited to Maintain Chinooks for Royal Netherlands Air Force. Accreditation enables scheduled maintenance for Chinooks and positions Boeing for future support work in Europe. Boeing [NYSA: BA] recently obtained maintenance accreditation in the Netherlands to provide Chinook phase maintenance, which includes regular scheduled inspections and maintenance, for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) fleet of CH-47D Chinooks. Boeing also has Netherlands accreditation for the AH-64D Apache helicopter.
“We are excited to provide the Netherlands with expanded Chinook support,” said Indra Duivenvoorde, director of Europe and Israel for Boeing International Government & Defence. “We have proven that we have the ability to set up sustainment operations with our customers across the globe, and the enormous knowledge and aviation experience of our team for both Boeing and non-Boeing platforms is what makes us a trusted partner in driving readiness across diverse global fleets.”
With the NLD-MAR-145 accreditation, an in-country maintenance organization of eight Boeing employees stationed at Airbase Woensdrecht perform phase maintenance in coordination with the RNLAF team. Phase maintenance can take several months to perform and includes regularly scheduled tip-to-tail inspection that covers components and tubing, the airframe, engines and rotor blades.
The in-country Boeing team also is capable of working on all other rotor- and fixed-wing aircraft types within the RNLAF. They will execute the work under a Flexible Capacity direct commercial sale contract. Boeing has provided phase maintenance solutions for the RNLAF AH-64D Apache and CH-47D Chinook since 2016.
Similar to the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States and the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Defence Agency’s Military Aviation Authority regulates compliance and safety of military aircraft, including maintenance and training criteria, and each country sets specific requirements for each accreditation.
Having a MAR-145 accreditation in one country provides the opportunity to establish other maintenance organizations within Europe. This accreditation will be recognized by the other European countries since it is a direct derivative of the European Military Airworthiness Requirements.
Boeing is working closely with the RNLAF to transition to support for the modernized CH-47F Chinook, of which four are already flying in the Netherlands, and the AH-64E Apache, which is expected to begin delivering in 2023.
11 Oct 21. Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport Demonstrates New Aerial Resupply Feature.
- Recently, the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) demonstrated its ability to airdrop supplies, which allows for quick resupply to troops out in austere locations.
- APT can carry two standard tactical packs, each capable of holding up to 60 lbs. with a max payload of 100 lbs. These bags can be aerial dropped at one location or at two separate locations and can hold items such as ammo cans, water, medical supplies, or fuel.
- APT will enable faster and more efficient resupply since the vehicle will simply drop the goods quickly near the location and personnel can immediately retrieve supplies without needing to wait for aircraft to land and takeoff. The aerial supply-drop feature conserves battery power by minimizing hover time, which can extend the vehicle’s mission range and time. The aerial supply-drop increases survivability of the aircraft and helps keep ground forces concealed by minimizing time at the drop zone and allows the system to serve the most austere locations with ease.
- To date, the APT flight test program has completed over 420 flights at Yuma, Camp Lejeune, Fort Benning and other austere test sites and is expected to reach additional milestones by early 2022. Follow on development will include precision aerial supply-drops while flying at a cruise speed of 80 mph.
11 Oct 21. UK F-35B Lightnings conduct air-to-air refuelling from US Navy combat. This is the first time that F-35B Lightnings were refuelled from a fighter jet of the US Navy. Combat aircraft F-35B Lightnings, which are embarked aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth, have undertaken ‘buddy-buddy’ refuelling from a US Navy fighter jet for the first time. The F-35B Lightnings, which are the jets of 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF), undertook the air-to-air refuelling from the US Navy’s F/A-18E Super Hornet.
As part of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 21 deployment to the Indo-Pacific Region, the jets of the RAF Marham-based 617 Squadron are currently embarked aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier.
The refuelling took place during exercises in the Pacific region with US Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson.
Flown by pilots of RAF and Royal Navy, the F-35B Lightnings regularly undertakes air-to-air refuelling from RAF Voyager aircraft. However, this represents the first time that the F-35B Lightnings were refuelled from a fighter jet of the US Navy.
In addition to featuring external fuel tanks, the Super Hornet has air-to-air refuelling equipment, which offered scope to undertake this training and boost the interoperability of the aircraft carriers between the UK and the US.
While participating in the exercise, the 617 Squadron also undertook a joint fly past with the jets of the US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) over the total fleet of carriers and their escorts.
The UK CSG is currently readying for the return journey of the deployment through the Indian Ocean, Middle East and the Mediterranean.
During its return journey of the deployment, the group will undertake further exercises with other countries. (Source: naval-technology.com)
07 Oct 21. Latvia to receive M3 amphibious bridging systems. Latvia is to become the latest operator of the M3 amphibious bridge and ferry system made by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), the company announced on 6 October. Four M3 units are being provided, a GDELS spokesperson told Janes , with the contract for them covered by the US Army under an initiative to help Latvia address a NATO requirement for additional wet-gap crossing solutions in the Baltics. GDELS declined to put a value on the contract.
“This procurement is another milestone marking transatlantic co-operation and the necessity of mobility and interoperability for allied forces,” Dr Thomas Kauffmann, vice-president of international business and services for GDELS, was quoted as saying in a 6 October company press release. The M3 system is already used by the German and British armies in Europe, as well as the armed forces of Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan in Asia. Multiple units of the system can be used together to form a pontoon bridge, or an individual M3 can be used as a ferry platform. The system can carry all current main battle tanks.
Dr Christian Kauth, GDELS vice-president and managing director for bridge systems, noted that the Latvian M3s “will also be equipped with ‘Arctic kits’ that will allow [the Latvian Land Forces] to operate them in very cold climate conditions”. (Source: Jane’s)