08 Sep 17. L3 gets Compass Call contract, names Gulfstream as airframe provider. After months of being mired in legal disputes, the U.S. Air Force’s Compass Call crossdeck program is speeding ahead.
Following an August decision by the Government Accountability Office to deny protests from Bombardier and Boeing, the service awarded L3 Technologies the systems integrator contract for the program, which is now known as EC-X, confirmed U.S. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.
“The Air Force awarded an undefinitized contract action to L-3 for the Compass Call rehost program,” she said. An undefinitized contract action is used to advance money to a company so that it can continue work on a project even if the exact terms of a contract have not been set in stone.
To modernize its inventory of EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, the U.S. Air Force has chosen a crossdeck plan in which a systems integrator will transfer mission systems on the existing EC-130Hs to a new airframe. One of the most controversial aspects of the acquisition strategy allows the systems integrator — in this case L3 — to chose the airframe, an element that Boeing and Bombardier argued should be left to the government.
L3 has already informed the U.S. Air Force of its plans to choose Gulfstream’s G550 business jet to rehost the Compass Call electronics, Stefanek said.
“After their analysis and sharing that with the program office, L-3 has decided to use the Gulfstream G550 Airborne Early Warning aircraft as the new platform,” she said.
That outcome was what Boeing and Bombardier feared, spurring individual protests that the GAO collectively dismissed on Aug. 25.
(Source: Defense News)
07 Sep 17. Bell Helicopter ‘within days’ of first ground trials for V-280 Valor tilt-rotor. The build of the Bell Helicopter V-280 Valor tilt-rotor demonstrator aircraft is 100 percent complete, the company announced Wednesday, and the aircraft is about to begin ground runs in advance of a first flight.
The U.S. Army has been planning — through its Joint Multi-Role demonstrator program — for two very different vertical lift prototypes to begin flight demonstrations this fall as part of a critical path to informing and shaping the design of a Future Vertical Lift helicopter fleet expected to hit the skies in the 2030s.
Bell Helicopter is “within days” of beginning restrained ground runs at its Amarillo Assembly Center in Texas, said Keith Flail, the company’s vice president of advanced tilt-rotor systems, who spoke to Defense News at the Association of the United States Army’s aviation symposium Thursday.
While he was hesitant to pinpoint a date when the helicopter will rise off the ground for its very first flight, Flail said the event would take place well within the year. Following a series of restrained ground runs, the company will move to unrestrained ground runs. And when everything is determined ready to go, Bell will fly the helicopter for the first time, which will likely be nothing more than what is typical for a first flight — a low hover over the ground. More significant testing will follow over the course of a year as the Army observes the potential capability. The other prototype’s first flight has fallen behind the originally intended goal of September. The Sikorsky-Boeing-made SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter is now expected to start flying some time in the first half of 2018. The aircraft is based off of Sikorsky’s patented X2 technology, which is also being used in the company’s internally developed helicopter, Raider, which experienced a hard landing earlier this summer. (Source: Defense News)
07 Sep 17. New F-35 program head wants lot 11 deal by October. The F-35 joint program office is aiming to cement a contract agreement with Lockheed Martin for the 11th batch of joint strike fighters by the end of the year. But the new head of the program office, Vice Adm. Mat Winter, wants to get it done even faster, telling reporters on Sept. 6, “I’m pressurizing