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17 Dec 19. Field Aerospace completed the US Forest Service SD3-60 avionics upgrade on the sixth of 10 aircraft 17 days ahead of schedule, with 100 percent quality compliance. Implementing efficiencies and lessons learned from the previous Sherpa flight deck integrations shaved off 17 days from the planned integration schedule, garnering kudos from the US Forest Service.
The forest service found no quality issues during the acceptance inspection and said they are pleased with the modification. They flew the Sherpa from Oklahoma City to Rapid City, SD, for refueling, then to home base in Missoula, MT, on Dec. 13.
“The US Forest Service team was extremely happy with the quality of the work and early delivery,” said John Taylor, vice president and general manager of Field’s Oklahoma City operations, adding “Field is pleased with the progress we’ve made modifying this important forest service aircraft. We delivered the latest Sherpa in record time, beating our schedule by 17 days.”
Field Aerospace expects the next four Sherpa modernizations to follow the compressed modification schedule as well.
Field Aerospace obtained the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for this avionics upgrade, which modernizes the aging smokejumper’s flight deck and improves its mission capabilities, in September 2018. Field Aerospace developed and integrated the modernized flight deck, conducted FAA-witnessed ground and flight tests, and completed the STC certification. Field’s FAA-authorized Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) issued the STC for the first Sherpa.
The next aircraft is currently in work at Field’s Oklahoma City facility. Field Aerospace previously completed five Sherpa upgrades, four as part of the original base contract and one for the current option contract. Three additional aircraft will be modified, for a total of 10 on the base and option contracts.
“The modernization extends the life and improves the operational capabilities of this aging aircraft for future firefighting efforts. The upgrade is a challenging integration of modern digital avionics into an older analog-based aircraft that yields a functionally advanced and aesthetically pleasing cockpit system,” Taylor said.
Field’s modification integrates an intuitive, modernized avionics suite with a Garmin G950 system. The new flight deck includes new features and safety-enhancing capabilities, such as a glass cockpit, weather radar, digital audio system, VHF-FM tactical radio, large-screen Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out, Traffic Avoidance and Collision System (TCAS), Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), Mode S extended squitter, and Localizer Performance (LPV). The enhanced Sherpa aircraft support wild land fire operations, including smokejumper, passenger, and cargo missions.
About the US Forest Service Sherpa Smokejumper
The US Forest Service received 15 SD3-60 Sherpa (C-23B variant) aircraft from the US Army in early 2014 to use as smokejumpers and to transport cargo, paracargo, and firefighters. The Sherpa has a rear door that can open while in flight for paracargo and jumpers. The Sherpa is a twin-engine transport aircraft, similar to the C-23A, but with cabin windows, stronger landing-gear, inward-opening paratroop doors at the rear of the fuselage and an air-operable two-section cargo ramp.
26 Dec 19. Boeing Sued By Longtime Parts Maker Amid Leadership Struggles for Aerospace Giant. Earlier this week, Boeing fired CEO Dennis Muilenburg, pledging to repair relationships with customers and regulators. It might not be at the top of the list, but Boeing’s next leader will also need to patch up an escalating issue with a long-time supplier.
Leonardo, an aerospace and defense giant based in Italy, filed a lawsuit Monday against Boeing, just hours after Muilenburg’s termination. Leonardo claims Boeing suddenly took issue earlier this year with parts it has supplied for decades, charging tens of millions in repair costs. Boeing has allegedly refused to pay invoices for other parts Leonardo has supplied, in a breach of contract, according to the suit.
Leonardo has made slats — aerodynamic surfaces on the edges of wings that slow planes down and help them take off and land in shorter distances — for Boeing 767 planes since 1979, per the lawsuit. In June, Boeing reported several issues with the slats for the first time, including minor scratches and “foreign object debris.”
Boeing repaired the slats, according to the suit, and then sent Leonardo a bill for close to $26.2m. Boeing allegedly pledged to withhold payments on other invoices from its long-time partner until the bill got paid in full. In court documents, Leonard said it bills Boeing roughly $20m per year for slats.
“This means that, under Boeing’s current claim that it has the right to set off $26m against Leonardo’s future invoices, Leonardo would be forced to produce slats for Boeing at no cost for more than one year,” according to court documents. Boeing escalated the dispute earlier this month when it warned Leonardo of plans to send a second invoice for slat repairs and “collateral impact” totaling $33m, according to court documents. (Source: Defense-Aerospace.com/Geekwire)
23 Dec 19. Pentagon Remains Bullish on 3D Printing, Despite Regulatory ‘Slog.’ Military officials want to put additive manufacturing to broader use, but barriers remain. For years, Pentagon officials have been bullish about using 3D printing to build and fix weapons quicker and cheaper. But its widespread use by the military has been slowed by regulatory and legal hurdles, experts say.
“It’s a hard slog,” said Neal Orringer, an executive in the 3D-printing sector and a former Pentagon official who helped stand up federal manufacturing institutes across the country.
While additive manufacturing could reduce the time it takes to manufacture parts, the lengthy process of certifying those 3D-printed pieces for use nullifies those speed gains — especially if you’re building a part that could end up on a rocket or hypersonic missile that is subjected to extreme stresses and temperatures.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to aerospace and defense, there’s actually going to be a limit to how fast a lot of this adoption takes place,” Orringer said Nov. 7 at Defense One Outlook 2020. “Working in the additive manufacturing industry, trying to push this adoption — it’s been frustrating.”
In hypersonics, 3D printing could cut the time to make a parts “from 18 months down to a matter of weeks,” Orringer said. But certifying new manufacturing techniques could take years, decades or more. Orringer has created a non-profit called Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America, or ASTRO, to help bring advanced technology into defense-related manufacturing.
Pentagon officials remain bullish on additive manufacturing and have put together a number of initiatives to proliferate its use. Congress recently approved $42.5m in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act for the Pentagon’s advanced manufacturing efforts.
In October, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy approved a policy that requires the Army to use 3D-printed parts in new and existing weapons. The lighter parts would, in theory, allow tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters to travel further or carry more weapons or equipment.
“You’ve got 3D parts in [Boeing] 737s flying over my office in the Pentagon. Why can’t we put them on an armored vehicle?” McCarthy said during a Dec. 7 briefing on the sidelines of the Reagan National Defense Forum.
3D printing has already proved its worth in combat, where it is used for quick fixes on the battlefield, and at bases to make tools and parts.
But it’s also led to intellectual property issues, especially with so much money at stake in sustainment contracts, which Pentagon officials estimate make up 70 cents of every dollar spent on weapons.
“Parts [are] like razor blades to a defense company,” McCarthy said. “You’re constantly buying new ones. It’s an incredible business model. They make a lot of money on that.”
In 2018, the Air Force revealed that replacing a cargo plane’s toilet seat, priced as a replacement part at $10,000, would cost just $300 if 3D-printed.
So the Pentagon is pushing 3D-printing in its military supply depots, which have manufactured thousands of parts with the technology.
“As we prove these things out in our depots, it’s a great opportunity for us,” Kristen Baldwin, deputy director for strategic technology protection and exploitation within the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said Nov. 7 at Defense One Outlook 2020. “Now we can start to really apply them on our major contracts.”
An October report by the Defense Department Inspector General found the Pentagon could expand its use of 3D-printed parts if military depots and individual units would share additive manufacturing know how and components.
“These actions could increase the use of [additive manufacturing] and improve warfighter readiness by decreasing the lead and repair times from years to days for some hard-to-procure parts that can be produced through [additive manufacturing],” the report states.
Baldwin echoed another of the findings in the report: that educating the workforce about additive manufacturing could help spread its use.
“We really need to advance the workforce to be able to understand how to use those tools and how to employ them and new and novel ways,” she said. (Source: Defense One)
23 Dec 19. Spanish Navy cancels last S 70 submarine overhaul. The Spanish Navy (Armada Española) has cancelled the final major overhaul planned for its S 70 Galerna (Agosta)-class diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) as a result of the “good progress” being made with the replacement S 80 programme. The announcement on 20 December came shortly after the modules making up the first hull of the new class – the future Isaac Peral (S 81) – were joined together at the Cartagena yards of state-opened shipbuilder Navantia. Work on a fifth upgrade for the third S 70 submarine, Mistral (S 73) – which has been in service since 1985 – had been approved in 2015 as a series of technical delays pushed back the construction calendar for the new submarines. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Dec 19. Kongsberg signs NDLO support agreements. Kongsberg has signed two new agreements with the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO), the company announced on 18 December. The first is a framework agreement for follow on technical support for the Norwegian armed forces. The company will support the armed forces with maintenance and engineering services for equipment on board navy vessels, including missile systems, weapon stations, C2 and navigation systems. The agreement continues and expands Kongsberg’s previously signed framework agreement.
The second agreement was signed between Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services and NDLO and is related to maintenance and support of the Norwegian NH90 helicopter fleet. The agreement will initially apply for the years 2020-2026, and there will be annual calls from the agreement.
Maintenance will mainly be carried out at the Bardufoss main base, with the goal of increasing the operational availability of the NH90 helicopters.
Eirik Lie, CEO, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace, said: ‘Both agreements are the result of a long-term commitment to maintenance and preparedness by both the Norwegian armed forces and Kongsberg, and they lay grounds for further development of expertise in the area.’ (Source: Google/Shephard)
20 Dec 19. Indonesian shipyard lays keels for two tank landing ships. Key Points:
- An Indonesian shipbuilder has laid down two more tank landing ships for the country’s navy
- The vessels will further improve the mobility of Indonesia’s armoured vehicles
Indonesian shipbuilder PT Bandar Abadi has laid down two more Teluk Bintuni-class tank landing ships (LSTs) on order for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL).
The keels for both vessels were laid down on 19 December at the company’s facilities in Batam. The event was confirmed by Terafulk Ship Design, which is collaborating with PT Bandar Abadi on the project, in a statement on the following day. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Dec 19. US Navy to dive deep into its maintenance woes. The U.S. Navy is gearing up to peel back the onion on years of delays and tens of thousands of operational days lost with ships languishing in shipyards.
The defense appropriations bill, newly approved by Congress and sent to the White House, orders the secretary of the Navy to “conduct a comprehensive and systematic analysis to identify the underlying causes of aircraft carrier, surface ship, and submarine maintenance delays,” and submit a report to Congress within 180 days.
Budget documents released by Congress say the Navy is working on ways to improve maintenance, but the efforts lack any understanding of the fundamental issues.
“Since fiscal year 2014, Navy ships have spent over 27,000 more days in maintenance than expected, with 70 percent of maintenance periods on average experiencing delays,” the documents read. “There is some preliminary evidence that the Navy has begun pilot efforts to analyze maintenance challenges for some elements of the fleet. However, these efforts are not comprehensively examining the root causes of delays across the entire fleet.”
Maintenance delays in the shipyards have been a perennial problem for the Navy, one that has ballooned as the Navy shrunk but demand for the fleet remained. This led to increased operations tempo for the remaining ships and deployment extensions that made planning shipyard availabilities difficult.
Still, Navy officials suspect that much of the issue could be bound up in poor front-end planning at the deckplate level. In comments earlier this month, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said he needs sailors and wardrooms to ensure the service is diligent about noting when repairs are needed.
“The first thing I talk about in the readiness section [of the new design] is maintenance,” Gilday said, referring to his new planning guidance. “We are getting 35 to 40 percent of our ships out of maintenance on time: That’s unacceptable. I can’t sustain the fleet I have with that kind of track record.
“It really goes back to basics. One of the things we’ve found, looking at a substantial amount of data, we’ve concluded so far that 25 to 30 percent of our delays are due to bad planning and poor casting up front. So there are things we definitely need to do within the lifelines of the United States Navy that we have to get after, and we are getting after it.”
A review of sorts is already underway. In his new guidance, Gilday ordered a 60-day review by Naval Sea Systems Command to assess the state of the ship-repair industrial base, and he tasked the fleet to reduce shipyard delays by 80 percent.
The Navy’s maintenance accounts have become a contentious subject this year. At Gilday’s confirmation hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe cited a nearly $2bn shortfall in the Navy’s maintenance accounts. That shortfall, sources told Defense News, was exacerbated by the Defense Department using money for President Donald Trump’s border wall, hurricane relief and fixes to crumbling base housing that ate up reprogramming authorities that limited how much the Navy could shuffle its own budget to make up the gap. (Source: Defense News)
About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense is a leading provider of tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. For decades Oshkosh has been mobilizing military and security forces around the globe by offering a full portfolio of heavy, medium, light and highly protected military vehicles to support our customers’ missions. In addition, Oshkosh offers advanced technologies and vehicle components such as TAK-4® independent suspension systems, TerraMax™ unmanned ground vehicle solutions, Command Zone™ integrated control and diagnostics system, and ProPulse® diesel electric and on-board vehicle power solutions, to provide our customers with a technical edge as they fulfill their missions. Every Oshkosh vehicle is backed by a team of defense industry experts and complete range of sustainment and training services to optimize fleet readiness and performance. Oshkosh Defense, LLC is an Oshkosh Corporation company [NYSE: OSK].
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