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September 7, 2023 | International, Aerospace

Spirit AeroSystems exec talks five new focus areas, $1 billion goal

Spirit AeroSystems' growth landed it back on the Defense News Top 100 list this year — and the company has more ambitious plans in store.

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  • A Modern Solution To Improved Performance, Cost, Use For The Venerable Chinook

    July 29, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    A Modern Solution To Improved Performance, Cost, Use For The Venerable Chinook

    It's the dream of military acquisition in 2020: A new system that drops into place in a current piece of hardware, provides improved performance, easier maintenance, and builds on a legacy of more than 12 million battle-proven hours of operation. It's the T55 714C, Honeywell Aerospace's new variant of the venerable T55 turboshaft engine used on American helicopters and fixed wing aircraft since 1955. The engine's starring role, however, is aboard Boeing's CH-47A and MH-47 rotorcraft, known as the Chinook. The heavy-lift Chinook that has served the Army consistently, as well as international customers, for more than 60 years features two counter-rotating rotors that eliminate the need for an antitorque vertical rotor. The unique design requiring two T55 engines per aircraft allows all the T55's power to be used for lift and thrust and enable perhaps the toughest helicopter pilot maneuver known—the pinnacle landing. In the years since the T55 and Chinook entered service in 1962, Honeywell has delivered more than 6,000 engines, with 2,500 engines in service today supporting 950 aircraft operating in 20 countries. Dave Marinick, Honeywell's President of Engines and Power Systems, says throughout all these years the company has invested in the engine, from its original 1,600 shp capability to today as the T55 produces 4,800 shp to power the Chinook to a maximum speed 196 mph. But now, with Future Vertical Lift and its high-speed rotorcraft on the horizon, Honeywell looked again at what the Army needed to power the Chinook to fill the heavy lift role as the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft go into service. "Looking back at the multi-decade history, characterized by a close relationship with the Army and an understanding of how the aircraft is used—how the army flies the Chinook, how they maintain the Chinook—we have been able to focus on what is important to our customer," Marinick adds. The Charlie variant of the T55 fits the bill, according to Marinick. It maintains the current engine architecture, while offering 20% more power, nearly 10% improved performance at high and hot altitudes and using 9% less fuel. It includes a modern full authority digital engine control with health monitoring. "We designed in a cost-effective way to increase power to 6,000 shp, and we have a roadmap to increase that up to 7,500 shp," Marinick says. "And while saving gas is one thing, we also are extending the range with the new engine, allowing the pilot to fly or loiter longer, an important option for the operators using this aircraft—whether for military missions, fire suppression or disaster relief." In addition to its performance improvements, the T55 714C features a new compressor and improved reliability and lifecycle. The accessory section has also been redesigned based on feedback from Army customers. In the past, maintainers had to pull the engine entirely to access the accessory section on the number 2 engine. The redesign shifts the accessory section to the top of the engine, providing easier and saving hundreds of man hours to make a switch. There are no changes to the engine mounts, making the T55 714C a drop-in replacement. It can be installed as a full-up new engine or as a kit that is introduced during overhaul. "In this concept, we are turning a maintenance event into much more—a Chinook leaving with new engines, without requiring a block upgrade. We're delivering major performance improvements, without tearing up the aircraft," Marinick says. The engine's tooling, logistics and training remain the same, further reducing the time required to introduce a much-improved engine. The new engine comes with another major change. The U.S. Army has completed a product verification audit to provide approval for Honeywell to open a state-of-the-art T55 Repair and Overhaul Center of Excellence near the company's Phoenix, Arizona headquarters. Marinick says the new facility will increase throughput by two to three times the previous capacity for CH-47 Chinook helicopter fleets. The move also establishes a larger pool of highly trained technicians who will work alongside the engineering team to streamline feedback and help to inform future upgrades. The company has also launched an initiative to ensure on-time delivery of materials from suppliers to support the expanded capacity. "Future Vertical Lift is upon us," Marinick says, "We think of the Charlie as an affordable, responsible upgrade and service designed to keep the Chinook at optimum performance and readiness in a realistic way, through 2060." Honeywell's upgraded T55 Charlie engine is expected to be ready for flight test at the end of 2022. For more Information about the T55, click here.

  • AeroVironment Receives $9.8 Million Raven and Puma 3 AE Awards from NATO Support and Procurement Agency under Multi-Year Contract with $80 Million Potential Value

    June 12, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    AeroVironment Receives $9.8 Million Raven and Puma 3 AE Awards from NATO Support and Procurement Agency under Multi-Year Contract with $80 Million Potential Value

    June 10, 2020 - AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced its receipt of two firm-fixed-price orders totaling $9,804,448 from the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The orders, received on March 5, 2020 and April 16, 2020, encompass the procurement of Raven® and Puma™3 AE tactical UAS and spares. Delivery for the first order is anticipated by August 2020 and the second order by October 2020. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: The orders are part of a three-year base contract received from NSPA in January 2020. The contract includes an option for two additional years of logistics support for Raven, Wasp® and Puma tactical UAS. The total potential value of the multi-year contract is $80 million, encompassing the procurement and sustainment of AeroVironment tactical unmanned aircraft systems employed by the defense forces of several NATO countries. “AeroVironment's tactical unmanned aircraft systems, such as Raven and Puma, have helped transform the way U.S. and allied forces plan, train, equip and operate,” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of sales and business development at AeroVironment. “Both systems benefit from continuous technology improvements and pack significant capabilities into portable, man-packable platforms that provide operators with rapid and effective force protection.” AeroVironment's Raven system is designed for rapid deployment and high mobility for operations requiring low-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. With a wingspan of 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) and weighing just 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilograms), the hand-launched Raven provides situational awareness, day or night, with an operational range of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). The Raven's Mantis i23 EO/IR gimbaled payload delivers real-time video or infrared imagery to ground control and remote viewing stations. The AeroVironment Puma 3 AE is a fully man-portable unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations. The hand-launched Puma 3 AE has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) and can operate for up to 2.5 hours at a range of up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) with a standard antenna, and up to 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) with AeroVironment's Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA). Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 EO/IR sensor suite, empowers the operator with extended flight time and a level of imaging capability never before available in the tactical UAS class. AeroVironment's family of tactical UAS use a common ground control station and software, allowing for improved interoperability and decreased training and logistics costs for NATO forces. To learn more, visit About AeroVironment Tactical UAS The RQ-20A/B Puma™, Puma™ LE, RQ-11B Raven®, RQ-12A Wasp®, together with the VAPOR® Helicopter comprise AeroVironment's family of tactical unmanned aircraft systems. This family of systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that gives ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel. AeroVironment provides logistics services worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness. AeroVironment has delivered thousands of new and replacement tactical unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than 45 allied governments. About AeroVironment, Inc. AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides customers with more actionable intelligence so they can proceed with certainty. Based in California, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems and tactical missile systems, and serves defense, government, and commercial customers. For more information visit About NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) brings together in a single organization, acquisition, logistic, medical and infrastructural capabilities, operational and systems support and services to the NATO nations, NATO Military Authorities and partner nations. As NATO's primary enabler, the Agency's mission is to provide effective and cost-efficient multinational solutions to its stakeholders. NSPA is a customer-funded agency, operating on a "no profit - no loss" basis. It is headquartered in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with main operational centers in France, Hungary and Italy. For more information visit Safe Harbor Statement Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. For additional media and information, please follow us at: Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn: YouTube: Instagram: View source version on

  • Opinion: Why Supply Chain Bottlenecks Will Quell The Ramp-Up

    November 29, 2021 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Opinion: Why Supply Chain Bottlenecks Will Quell The Ramp-Up

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