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17 Jul 14. GKN Aerospace to lead research collaboration into additive manufacturing. GKN Aerospace is to lead a consortium of UK companies in a 3.5year, GBP13.4m research and development programme called Horizon (AM) that builds on GKN Aerospace’s extensive and fast-developing additive manufacturing capability.
The Horizon (AM) team includes GKN Aerospace, Renishaw, Delcam, and the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick. The programme is backed by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). Horizon (AM) will take a number of promising additive manufacturing (AM) techniques from research and development through to viable production processes, able to create components that could be as much as 50per cent lighter than their conventional counterparts, with complex geometries that cannot be cost effectively manufactured today. These new processes will unlock innovations in low drag, high-performance wing designs and lighter, even more efficient engine systems – and lead to dramatic reductions in aircraft fuel consumption and emissions. The programme will focus initially on using AM techniques to create near net shape parts which require very little machining. This will dramatically improve the ‘buy to fly’ ratio of the part by reducing the considerable cost in time and material wastage associated with the conventional machining of metal forgings. With material wastage as high as 90 per cent for some parts, a significant reduction here will also provide major environmental benefits.
Rich Oldfield, Technical Director, GKN Aerospace explains: “AM incorporates a range of hugely promising manufacturing technologies that the UK aerospace sector must fully understand and exploit if it is to retain its position as the largest national aerospace industry outside the USA. This strong consortium has the expertise and understanding to continue the process of industrialising these technologies for use in both current programme updates and next-generation aircraft.”
13 Jul 14. The U.S. Army helicopter fleet will benefit from the first major radio system upgrade since 2005. The radios will meet the government’s data security requirements and work seamlessly with legacy communications systems, making installation easy and saving millions in integration costs. In a recent software demonstration at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal Engineering Lab in Huntsville, Alabama, Raytheon’s newest RT-1987 radio successfully interfaced with the multiple flight management systems that control the radio and provide status updates to the aircrew.
“This demonstration proves that the Raytheon radios work with the legacy system and enable greater data sharing and increased security,” said Scott Whatmough, vice president of Integrated Communications Systems in Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business.
Along with supporting all of the legacy capabilities of the existing radio, the upgraded version will include two significant features – modern cryptography capabilities that offer data security and seamless support of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communications network, providing more than ten times the capacity of the legacy system it replaces. The RT-1987 radio is the newest member of Raytheon’s SkyFire family of software-defined radios for rotary and fixed wing, manned and unmanned aircraft. It meets the requirements of Joint Tactical Radio System software standards. The SkyFire radios implement the Software Communication Architecture (SCA), making it easy to port a waveform from the government repository. SkyFire radios support numerous additional capabilities, including the new Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) which was demonstrated to the Army last year. The equipment upgrade is backward compatible with existing equipment installations to minimize platform modifications, simplify installation and signifi