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November 15, 2021 | International, Aerospace

US Air Force will buy E-7 Wedgetail in 2022, Boeing exec claims

“I’m very confident that the Air Force is choosing the E-7 to replace its E-3 fleet,” Mike Manazir, Boeing’s vice president for defense business development, said during a news conference ahead of the Dubai Airshow.

On the same subject

  • Iwakuni Marines use 3D printers to revolutionize maintenance for fighter jets

    January 30, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Iwakuni Marines use 3D printers to revolutionize maintenance for fighter jets

    By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Using 3D printers, Marines based in southern Japan created two products that reduce the time it takes to repair F/A-18 Hornets and may save the Defense Department money. Called an engine ship kit, the first innovation is a set of plastic clips and plugs to prevent oil and hydraulic fluid leaking from aircraft engines removed for repairs. The other is a tool that helps maintainers grease the bearings on the F/A-18's high-speed Gatling gun. Designed by Marines from MCAS Iwakuni's Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12, the engine ship kit will have an immediate impact on operations, squadron commander Lt. Col. Javier Garcia recently told Stars and Stripes. The kit eliminates the need for maintainers to travel to austere locations to drain oil and hydraulic fluids so an engine can be taken safely back to Iwakuni for repair. The plastic drain plugs prevent the fluid from leaking and the clips ensure the plugs are not dislodged as the engine is readied for transport. The kit is the brain child of 1st Lt. Simon Miller and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mark Willems, who needed to get a broken F/A-18 engine from Wake Island to MCAS Iwakuni late last year. The engine began to leak while a C-130 crew tried to load it, Garcia said. In the past, a team of maintenance Marines would have traveled to the location to prepare the engine for safe transport, but that takes away from their mission at MCAS Iwakuni. To solve the problem, Willems had the idea of creating plugs that would stop the leaks. Miller created the pieces using 3D drafting software and MALS 12's new 3D printers. “I'm not really sure why no one thought to make this kind of kit before, but this design is going to have an impact across the Navy and Marine Corps,” Garcia said. The same team behind the engine ship kit also created a tool that makes it easier for maintenance Marines to grease the bearing on the F-18's M61A Vulcan, a Gatling-style rotary cannon that can fire 6,000 rounds a minute. The bearing on the cannon must be packed with grease every 30,000 rounds, a job that used to take two Marines more than 30 minutes, said Cpl. Christian Smellie, an aviation life-support systems technician who works at Iwakuni's 3D printing lab. Full article:

  • Army validates design for future helicopter engine, remains on track despite COVID

    August 13, 2020 | International, Aerospace, Land

    Army validates design for future helicopter engine, remains on track despite COVID

    By: Jen Judson WASHINGTON — The Army has validated its design for its future helicopter engine, and the program remains on schedule to deliver the first engine for testing in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, according to service officials in charge of the effort. The Improved Engine Turbine Program (ITEP) has seen a long — and often delayed — journey as the service wrestled with funding and development strategies for several years. ITEP will replace current engines in both UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters Since awarding a contract to General Electric Aviation in February 2019, the program has pushed forward on schedule, despite a protest from a competing team comprised of Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney, which paused work for roughly three months. And, while the Coronavirus pandemic caused some anxiety among Army officials trying to keep the program on track, those in charge were able to complete the critical design review, conducted 100 percent virtually, according to Army spokesman David Hylton. The ITEP Critical Design Review (CDR) was a multi-month process that consisted of three phases, Hylton told Defense News in a written statement. The engine control system component CDR was completed on June 5, followed by the software CDR on July 17 and the engine systems CDR on July 24, he said. The Army and GE are making “tremendous efforts to keep COVID-19 impacts from delaying the program,” Hylton wrote. GE is now working toward a test readiness review ahead of the first engine test. “We are full steam ahead in terms of understanding where we need to go next with respect to the design, Col. Gregory Fortier, who is in charge of the program office for the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, said during a media briefing last month. The Army has “no reason to believe we will not fly” in fiscal 2023, he said. According to FY21 Army budget request justification documents, the service plans to fly an aircraft with an ITEP engine installed in the first quarter of FY23 followed by a low-rate initial production decision in the fourth quarter of FY24. A full-rate production decision is expected in FY26.

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