07 Mar 19. Raytheon to open two new sites in UK. Raytheon UK is set to open a new office in London and an advanced manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland, to expand its technology portfolio in cyber intelligence, security, aerospace and defence, Raytheon announced on 5 March. The 130,000sq ft site in Livingston will be Raytheon’s second high-technology manufacturing facility in Scotland. The new site will support operations in the design and manufacture of power technology systems, and is expected to be operational within two years. The London office is expected to open in spring 2019 and will host the company’s various functions, including cyber specialists to support government and commercial clients. Raytheon UK also has a manufacturing facility in Glenrothes, Scotland. (Source: Shephard)
06 Mar 19. Theon Sensors opens German subsidiary. Greek firm Theon Sensors announced the opening of a new subsidiary in Kempen, Germany, on 6 March. The establishment of Theon Deutschland GmbH is reportedly the result of contract successes with the German Special Forces Command (KSK) and the German Army, and strong performance in neighbouring countries.
Theon’s Business Development Director Philippe Mennicken told Jane’s that the subsidiary was “created … to be closer to the customer, to be able to support them, and, obviously, to grow the business”. Theon Deutschland GmbH is part of a phased approach to enhance Theon Sensors’ footprint in the European market. The first stage is a sales office that will establish presence close to customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Benelux region. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Mar 19. UK MOD expands optimisation and investment for military site upgrades. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has updated the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme, designed to ensure 33 military site upgrades across the country to meet future military requirements.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement and also confirmed the UK MOD will invest £1.5bn to bring the 33 military estates, including air force bases, up to code, and ensure that they meet the standards required to support service personnel and their families.
Williamson said: “We have already committed £4bn to optimise our military sites and today’s update will ensure our estate continues to fulfil our needs and support our people for the next five years. By providing further clarity on the future of key sites, not only will we protect our national security and support military objectives, but we will provide more stable employment and education opportunities for military families.”
The five-year military site upgrades plan is an add-on to the 25-year Better Defence Estates Programme, which was produced in 2016, and included a total investment of £4bn in improving military estates.
Williamson also named some of the bases that will be retained in the plan, including RM Chivenor and Norton Manor Camp in Devon, RM Condor airfield in Scotland, Rock Barracks in Suffolk and RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire.
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood added: “When improving the defence estate we have always strived to achieve the right balance between working with local communities, achieving value for money and making sure our Armed Forces have what they require to protect our people and promote our prosperity.
“This update will give our service personnel the certainty to put down permanent roots and fully integrate with the local community.”
The defence estate takes up 1.8% of the UK’s land mass. The MOD aims to reduce the size of the defence estate and open up the sites that are no longer needed for commercial use.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for reintroducing vacated military sites for civilian use, and is in talks with local authorities on how best to use the sites.
DIO chief executive Graham Dalton said: “Delivering the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme to create a smaller, more modern and capability-focused estate is a priority for the MOD and DIO.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Defence and we continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including devolved administrations both in areas where sites are closing but also towns that will welcome new enhanced garrisons and camps.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Mar 19. Type 052D destroyer and Type 054A frigate enter service with PLAN. Photographs circulating on Chinese social media indicate that a Type 052D (Luyang III-class) destroyer (pennant number 119) and a Type 054A (Jiangkai II-class) frigate (pennant number 542) were commissioned in late February. Accompanying comments said the ships were named Guiyang and Zaozhuang,respectively, and state that they entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) North Sea Fleet on 22 February. The Type 052D destroyers displace over 7,000 tonnes and are 157 m in length. Sixty-four vertical launch tubes, which can fire HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles and the anti-ship variant of the YJ-18A long-range cruise missile, are installed in two grids: forward and midships. The lead shipyard for building the Type 052D is Jiangnan Changxingdao, where the first of class was launched in August 2012. However, Guiyang – the eighth Type 052D to be launched overall – was the first to be built by the Dalian Shipbuilding International Company (DSIC). The vessel first entered the water in November 2015, with two further Type 052Ds launched by DSIC in August 2016 and June 2017.
Unconfirmed reports state that the 17th overall Type 052D destroyer was launched at Jiangnan on 23 February, where three more ships of the class are being fitted out post-launch. Zaozhuang, is the PLAN’s 30th Type 054A frigate and appears to be the final ship of the class. It was the 15th to be built at the Huangpu shipyard in Guangzhou, with the remainder being constructed at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Mar 19. Japan commissions second Asahi-class guided-missile destroyer. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second Asahi-class guided-missile destroyer in a ceremony held on 27 February in Nagasaki Prefecture. Named JS Shiranui (pennant number 120), the 151m-long vessel was inducted into the service’s Escort Division 7 of Escort Flotilla 3, based in Ominato Base in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, shortly after being handed over by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) at its Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, according to a JMSDF statement.
Shiranui , which is the first JMSDF ship to feature a periscope-detection radar, was launched in October 2017 and began sea trials in July 2018. The first vessel of the class, JS Asahi (pennant number 119), was commissioned in March 2018.
A JMSDF spokesperson told Jane’s on 4 March that there are no plans to build more ships of this class. Instead Japan plans to build a total of eight 3,900 tonne-class multirole frigates by fiscal year 2021.
According to Jane’s Fighting Ships , the Asahi class has a standard displacement of 5,100 tonnes (5,628 tons), and is powered by two General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines in a combined gas turbine-electric and gas-turbine (COGLAG) configuration.
The class has a top speed of 30 kt and a crew complement of 220, according to the JMSDF. Each of the ships can accommodate a Mitsubishi (Sikorsky) SH-60K helicopter on the flight deck, and another one in a hangar deck.
The Asahi class is armed with a 127 mm naval gun as its primary weapon, and two Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon systems. The platform is also equipped with launchers capable of deploying the Type 90 anti-ship missile, and the RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM).
The warship’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities are provided by six (two triple) 324 mm torpedo tubes, an OQQ-24 hull-mounted sonar, and an OQR-4 tactical towed array system (TACTAS). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Mar 19. Fincantieri begins construction of first patrol vessel for Qatar. Fincantieri has commenced the construction of the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) under a contract with the Qatari Ministry of Defence. The event was marked by a steel-cutting ceremony at the company’s Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard. In June 2016, Fincantieri won a €4bn contract with the Qatari Ministry of Defence to build seven new generation surface vessels for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces.
The company defeated Naval Group (formerly DCNS) to win the contract, which involves the construction of four corvettes, one amphibious vessel (landing platform dock), and two OPVs. It also includes the provision of support services in Qatar for a ten-year period after the delivery of the vessels. In a statement, Fincantieri said: “In the awarding of this prestigious contract, Fincantieri has prevailed over other competitors, thanks to a project recognised as the most advanced and innovative of all and an experience gained in the construction of high-tech vessels.”
Designed to comply with the RINAMIL for Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) rules, the first OPV will be able to perform a range of tasks, from surveillance to being a fighting vessel. The 63m-long, 9.2m-wide vessel can achieve maximum speeds of 30k and accommodate 38 crew members. It features a propulsion system that contains four variable pitch propellers, two to starboard and two to the left, each in line with a diesel propulsion engine. According to Fincantieri, the patrol vessel will also be able to operate a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) through a crane located at the stern. The company commenced construction of the first Doha-class corvette under the contract last July. (Source: naval-technology.com)
06 Mar 19. Airbus Helicopters announced Wednesday its selection of the Pratt & Whitney PW206B3 engine to power the Airbus H135 IFR-certified helicopter the company is proposing for the U.S. Navy helicopter trainer replacement. Company officials made the announcement at the 2019 Heli-Expo industry trade show in Atlanta.
“Pratt & Whitney engines power a large portion of the H135 fleet flying in North America, and we feel this choice reinforces the H135 as the best-value solution for the Navy’s initial entry rotary-wing pilot training requirement,” said Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and Head of the North America Region. “In partnership with Pratt & Whitney, Airbus is offering the Navy an enhanced training capability that will provide future naval aviators with the most realistic training available to prepare them for the fleet operations they will perform in more advanced aircraft.”
The H135, which is IFR certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, allows more efficient training of new pilots in environments and scenarios most similar to the Navy’s warfighting rotorcraft fleet, creating opportunities for better cost and operational synergies compared to single-engine trainers. It is a technologically advanced aircraft and one of the safest in its class, due in part to its advanced Helionix avionics system, with color digital multi-function displays, a four-axis autopilot, Integrated Flight Management System, and engines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control and one engine inoperative (OEI) training mode.
06 Mar 19. MDHI reveals new MD 969 Combat Explorer helo. MD Helicopters Inc (MDH) has revealed a new military derivative of the twin-engined MD 902 Explorer, dubbed the MD 969 Combat Explorer. The MD 969, which was showcased at the HAI HELI-EXPO event in Atlanta, Georgia, on 5 March, shares the same basic outer mould line as its civilian stablemate and retains the no-tailrotor (NOTAR) configuration of the baseline helicopter.
Where the MD 969 differs most from the MD 902 is in the provision of four munitions hardpoints mounted on an integrated weapons plank. The helicopter at HELI-EXPO was displayed carrying a mix of rocket pods and 12.7 mm heavy machine gun pods, while a promotional video released by MDHI showed it fitted with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and 7.62 mm door-mounted Gatling-guns.
Other features include a composite fuselage and a digital ‘glass’ cockpit with three Genesys Aerosystems integrated IDU-680 multi-functional displays (MFDs) and one Macro-Blue tactical display, while the 173 cubic feet cabin volume allows for the carriage of up to six combat troops.
Speaking at the event, MDHI CEO Lynn Tilton reportedly said that the company is pitching the MD 969 at the US Army’s upcoming Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) requirement, which is part of the service’s wider Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme. As such, it will be powered by the Improved Turbine Engine Programme (ITEP) powerplant (selected as the General Electric T901-GE-900 in February, but currently subject to a protest from rival bidder Advanced Turbine Engine Company [ATEC]) that will be fitted to the FARA helicopter, as well as the US Army’s current fleet of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters.
“My personal focus this year is bringing this 969 to the marketplace. This will be a lethal machine, filling the missing space we have in the attack market,” Tilton said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Mar 19. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today its release of the new H145//BK117 D-3 helicopter (BK117 D-3), which was jointly developed with Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH. It was also announced that Central Helicopter Service Ltd., which operates 10 BK117 helicopters for EMS, disaster prevention operations and VIP transportations in Japan, will be the first customer to use H145//BK117 D-3 in Asia. The BK117 D-3 features a 150 kg increase in useful load with a five main rotor blade system and shortened maintenance downtime, while inheriting features of preceding BK117 D-2 that has earned high acclaim, such as versatility, wide clamshell doors at the rear, outstanding hovering performance and low noise level. The BK117 is a medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter used for various purposes, including emergency medical services, firefighting, disaster relief, law enforcement, broadcasting, and personnel and cargo transport. Following delivery of the first model in 1983, BK117 has been continually improved over the years, and thanks to the aircraft’s outstanding technological strengths and high reliability, Kawasaki has successfully delivered 178 units as of March 5, 2019. Including those delivered by Airbus, This number exceeds 1,500 units worldwide, making it a global bestseller. Moving forward, Kawasaki will continue making performance improvements to the BK117, and developing new equipment and component as needed. Furthermore, the company will leverage the strong customer trust fostered through past business operations, as well as the company’s comprehensible customer support system encompassing everything from development to manufacturing, sales and after-sales services, in the pursuit of further business around the world. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
04 Mar 19. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), today announced new plans for its S-92® helicopter line that will re-designate fielded helicopters as the S-92A+ after modification, and newly produced aircraft as the S-92B. The two variants will share a nearly identical configuration, with S-92B helicopters also featuring enlarged cabin windows and plans for a common cabin door suitable for offshore and SAR configurations. The announcement came at the 2019 Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo show. The S-92 helicopter boasts a best-in-class safety record and sets the industry standard for reliability. These changes to the venerable S-92 helicopter will introduce new technology that is focused on reliability and operating cost reduction, while at the same time delivering increased capability. Changes will increase commonality of the aircraft between the offshore, SAR, and utility configurations and allow for speedier reconfiguration between roles, making it an even better choice for operators that want a diverse aircraft capable of multiple missions. Sikorsky expects to launch an hourly aftermarket support program, reflecting a targeted economic improvement of the S-92A+ and S-92B, that will be available concurrent with deliveries.
Sikorsky’s S-92 helicopter fleet update will include the introduction of phase one MATRIXTM technology that will bring advanced computing power to the platform. This foundation enables adoption of autonomous landing technology such as Rig ApproachTM 2.0 and a new technology from Sikorsky’s Innovations lab called SuperSearchTM that uses advanced algorithms to locate objects up to 30 percent faster. Both aircraft will include SAR AFCS and a newly designed interior that is lighter and common to both SAR and OSO missions.
Notably, both configurations will include the Phase IV main gearbox. This gearbox has been validated to exceed the requirements of CFR 29.927(c) as demonstrated by full-scale testing witnessed by the FAA. All of the primary lubrication system oil was removed prior to operating the gearbox for the equivalent of over 500 nautical miles of flight at an airspeed of 80 knots. No discernible anomalies were identified during the post-test examination.
General Electric’s CT7-8A6 engine, capable of producing more power in higher altitudes and hotter temperatures, also will be available as an option for both the S-92A+ and S-92B products.
Sikorsky has significantly invested to bring these capabilities into production, but will let market interest determine the pace of remaining internal research and development spending. Current plans have initial availability set for 2022 and have an S-92B helicopter price target below historical S-92 prices. The S-92A+ kit is being designed to allow common fleet benefit at an economical targeted price.
“Our S-92 aircraft has set the standard for modern helicopters, and we’re excited with these changes that will ensure it remains so,” said Audrey Brady, Sikorsky Vice President, Commercial Systems & Services. “Reliability means safety. Reliability means economics. With these updates and an unmatched cabin size and capacity, our customers will see an economic benefit demonstrating that the S-92 is the best choice in helicopter missions near or far.”
“We think safety is a good investment, and so we welcome Sikorsky’s investment in this significant new technology, which will drive greater reliability, resilience and operational capability,” said Gretchen Haskins, CEO of HeliOffshore.
Since 2004, Sikorsky has delivered more than 300 production S-92 helicopters. The industry standard for safety and reliability, the S-92 helicopter is the preferred aircraft of its size class for offshore oil worker transportation. In 2018, the fleet flew 175,000 hours, a record for the fleet, contributing to a total of nearly 1.5 million hours flown.
04 Mar 19. Airbus Helicopters is unveiling a new version of its best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter at Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta. Visible on the Airbus booth at the show, this latest upgrade brings a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission H145, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150kg while delivering new levels of comfort, simplicity and connectivity.
“We’re extremely happy to be able to showcase the new H145 to our customers here in Atlanta as this upgrade owes a lot to the feedback they have provided us over the years about the aircraft,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Our teams have worked hard to quickly bring to the market a set of innovations that we believe will contribute to the success of our customers’ operations. It is their trust in the H145 and all its predecessor variants over the last decades that have made it the fantastic helicopter it has become today, and I want to thank them for their continuous support”.
The H145’s new five-bladed rotor brings a significant increase in overall performance, with a maximum take-off weight raised to 3,800 kg and a useful load now equivalent to the aircraft’s empty weight. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design will also ease maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. The reduced rotor diameter will allow the H145 to operate in more confined areas.
The new H145 introduces new levels of on-board connectivity to customers and operators through the integration of the wireless Airborne Communication System (wACS), allowing seamless and secure transmission of data generated by the helicopter in real-time, including in-flight.
Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class.
04 Mar 19. Nepal to receive M28 tactical airlifters from United States. Nepal is to receive a pair of PZL Mielec M28 short take-off and landing (STOL) light transport aircraft under a contract announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 1 March. The USD18.98m Foreign Military Financing (FMF) award to the Polish aircraft manufacturer covers two of the latest Block 5 aircraft, as well as services and support. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Kathmandu by 20 December. The Nepalese Army Air Wing already has one M28 in its inventory, which was donated by the Polish Air Force in 2004. However, this aircraft crash-landed at Kolti Airport in 2017 with images posted of the scene indicating that the damage was beyond economical repair. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
06 Mar 19. Ultra Electronics plc announces that John Hirst, Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee, has notified the Company of his intention to step down from the Board due to his increasing non-Ultra commitments and his recent appointment as Chair of the British Standards Institution. The search for a replacement Director has now commenced. John will retire as a member of the Remuneration Committee after the 2019 Annual General Meeting, but will remain on the Board and Chair of the Audit Committee until a replacement has been found.
01 Mar 19. Royal Australian Navy prepares to retire Bell 429 helicopters. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has progressively transitioned its naval aviation training operations to the Airbus EC-135T2+ helicopter and will soon phase out the Bell 429 from this role. The final Bell 429 helicopter made its final public appearance at the 2019 Avalon Airshow, which took place from 26 February to 23 March, according to information published by the RAN’s official news website Navy Daily. The service previously operated a fleet of three Bell 429s to prepare its pilots for the MH-60R Seahawks or the MRH-90 helicopters. These helicopters were leased from a Raytheon-Bell partnership under a USD26m deal signed in September 2011. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
07 Mar 19. USAF LG James C. Slife for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Slife is currently serving as vice commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
07 Mar 19. L3 Narda-ATM appoints Link Microtek as UK representative for complete range of microwave components. Basingstoke-based RF and microwave component specialist Link Microtek has signed a representation agreement with manufacturer L3 Narda-ATM, which is based in Long Island, New York. Under the terms of the deal, Link Microtek will handle the US firm’s entire range of waveguide and coaxial components in the UK and Ireland.
Formerly known as Advanced Technical Materials Inc. prior to its acquisition by L3 Technologies early in 2016, L3 Narda-ATM manufactures waveguide components such as transitions, adapters and couplers, together with a variety of coaxial products, including attenuators, phase shifters, power dividers, couplers and terminations.
Commenting on the agreement, Link Microtek’s Sales Director Stuart Hendry said: “This is an exciting development because it expands our product portfolio with a comprehensive range of components that includes many specifically designed for use in cutting-edge Ka-band systems, as well as a number that are qualified for space flight. All in all, it’s a perfect fit.”
For L3 Narda-ATM, Tony Rao, VP Sales and Marketing, said: “We look forward to expanding our long standing relationship with Link Microtek to now include representing L3 Narda-ATM. Link will now represent the entire family of L3 Narda companies in the UK and Ireland where we anticipate much success with the Narda-ATM line.”
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
04 Mar 19. Micross, a worldwide leading provider of Hi-Rel microelectronic components and related value-added services, announced the appointment of Anand Panneer as Micross Country Manager, India. Mr. Panneer will be based in Bangalore close to key customers in the aerospace and defence market and will be directly responsible for managing all Micross sales and marketing activities in India.
Mr. Panneer brings more than twenty years of sales management and product marketing expertise in the areas of Electromechanical, RF and Microwave, Semiconductor and Power Electronic solutions. His career has been primarily focused in supporting customers across the Aerospace & Defence, Industrial, Space, Automation and Renewable Energy sectors.
Mr. Panneer comes to Micross from Smiths Interconnect-UK, a leading provider of technically-differentiated electronic components, subsystems, microwave and radio frequency solutions, where he served as National Sales Manager – India for Connectors Products and successfully managed the daily operations of the branch as well as continuously ensured customer satisfaction and quality service standards were consistently achieved. Previously, Mr. Panneer was Addl. Vice President, Marketing for RF & Microwave, Power Electronic Product Lines at Unified ElectroTech, Ltd. and held various roles in sales management, product/sales engineering in the Bangalore region and throughout India.
Mr. Panneer earned his Master’s in Physics (Electronics) Degree with First Class and also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Science & Applications from Bharthidasan University, Tiruchirapalli. (Source: Google/https://www.prweb.com)