9 février 2021 | International, Aérospatial

NAVAIR Orders Five VH-92 Presidential Helicopters from Sikorsky

Posted on February 8, 2021 by Richard R. Burgess, Senior Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Sikorsky a third production contract to build five VH-92A helicopters for the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. — a Lockheed Martin company — a $478.6 million firm-fixe-price contract modification to build five Low-Rate Initial Production Lot III VH-92As, according to a Feb. 5 Defense Department announcement. The award also includes orders for “interim contractor support, two cabin interior reconfiguration kits, support equipment, initial spares and system parts replenishment,” the release said. Work on the contract is expected to be completed by December 2023.

The VH-92A was selected in 2014 to provide transport for the president of the United States, the vice president and other high-level government officials. The helicopter will replace the 19 VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N “White Hawk” helicopters operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One. The Corps plans to acquire a total of 23 VH-92As, 21 for operations and two for testing. The May 2014 engineering and manufacturing development contract procured two test aircraft and four production aircraft. Six VH-92As were ordered in June 2019, followed by six more in February 2020.

The presidential helicopter fleet is operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One, based at Marine Corps Air Station Quantico, Virginia, with a detachment at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington.

“Government testing to validate system performance and prepare for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation is progressing on schedule and will support an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) planned for July 2021,” a Navy spokeswoman said. “The VH-92A will enter service post IOC at the determination of the White House Military Office.”


Sur le même sujet

  • Battle over Air Force’s $1,300 coffee cups heats up

    25 octobre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Battle over Air Force’s $1,300 coffee cups heats up

    By: Stephen Losey The Air Force, under fire for throwing down $1,280 apiece to replace in-flight reheating cups after their handles break, is pledging to use 3-D printing to get that replacement cost down to 50 cents. But Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is still wondering why these pricey water heaters are necessary in the first place, and plans to keep pushing the Air Force to find cheaper waysto warm up their coffee. The cups, which plug into outlets on cargo planes to reheat liquids such as water or coffee, have a faulty plastic handle that easily breaks when the cups are dropped. And because replacement parts for the cup are no longer made, the Air Force has had to order a whole new cup when the handle breaks. In an Oct. 2 letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Grassley said that 25 replacement cups, each costing roughly $1,280 each, have been bought this year alone, for a total of roughly $32,000. The 60th Aerial Port Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in California spent nearly $56,000 to replace broken cups over the past three years. And the price is rising. Grassley noted that Travis said each cup cost taxpayers $693 in 2016. “Paying nearly $700 for a single cup is bad enough, but it's simply beyond reason to continue to pay ever-increasing prices for something as simple as a coffee cup that is so fragile that it needs to be constantly replaced,” Grassley said. “This latest example of reckless spending of taxpayer dollars gives me no confidence that the Air Force is taking real steps to reduce wasteful spending practices.” In an Oct. 17 letter to Grassley, Wilson said that “it is simply irresponsible to spend thousands of dollars on manufactured parts when we have the technology available to produce them ourselves,” once a supplier either stops producing those parts or goes out of business. Wilson said that in July, she ordered a new Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office to be created to find ways to develop and deliver parts at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing methods. This office has recently shown it can 3-D print replacement handles for the reheating cup for about 50 cents each. Wilson told Grassley that this cup is specially manufactured to plug into aircraft systems, and because it connects to the aircraft, the replacements need to be certified as airworthy by the FAA. This has driven up the cost of buying 391 of these cups since 2016 to $326,785, Wilson said, or about $836 apiece. The water heaters are used on 59 KC-10s, 52 C-5s, and 222 C-17s, Wilson said. But with planes aging, and the average KC-10 at 34 years old, it's harder and harder to find replacement parts for those aircraft, she said. And the price tag for raw materials for those parts is also increasing, Wilson said, with copper and chrome plating costs have increased 180 percent since 2016. Wilson told Grassley that she and Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein have ordered the new sustainment office to look for items in the procurement process that it can self-produce, or other overpriced items that it can stop buying without hurting the Air Force's mission. Grassley was dissatisfied with Wilson's response, and said he will keep digging. “It leaves me with more questions,” Grassley said. “While I appreciate that the Air Force is working to find innovations that would help save taxpayer dollars, it remains unclear why it cannot find a cheaper alternative to a $1,280 cup. Government officials have the responsibility to use taxpayer dollars efficiently. Too often, that's not the case.” The Air Force also said that Air Mobility Command is no longer buying the heaters for large transport aircraft as they try to find more cost-effective solutions. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/10/22/battle-over-air-forces-1300-coffee-cups-heats-up

  • Canadian block on drone parts shows Turkey’s defense industry still not independent

    14 octobre 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Canadian block on drone parts shows Turkey’s defense industry still not independent

    Burak Ege Bekdil ANKARA, Turkey — The Canadian government's decision to suspend export of key drone parts to Turkey has once again thrown a spotlight on Turkey's ongoing efforts to develop a self-sufficient defense industry. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan often boasts at party rallies that his governance since 2002 has reduced Turkey's dependency on foreign weapons systems from 80 percent to 30 percent. There is truth in that, although the actual percentages remain a mystery, mainly due to the difficulty of defining what is truly a local or national system. Most Turkish “national” systems depend on various degrees of foreign input, often including critical parts only available abroad. The T129, an “indigenous” attack helicopter, is a Turkish variant of the Italian-British AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta chopper. Turkey's local industry has no engine technology. The “national” new generation tank Altay is facing major delays, due to the lack of a foreign engine and transmission system. Turkey's first “indigenous” landing platform dock, the TCG Anadolu, will enter into service next year, but the $1 billion or more ship is being built under license from Spain's Navantia. Even Turkey's biggest success in the past few years, a locally-built drone known as the Bayraktar TB-2, features critical foreign parts — an issue now in the spotlight following Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne's Oct. 5 announcement to suspend export permits of drone technology to Turkey, which is backing Azerbaijan in the recent Azeri-Armenian military conflict. Champagne issued the pause in exports alongside an order for his ministry to investigate claims that Canadian drone technology is being used in the fighting. The decision followed an announcement by disarmament group Project Ploughshares, which warned the multimillion-dollar exports of high-tech sensors and targeting technology produced by L3Harris WESCAM in Burlington, Ont., are in direct contravention of Canada's domestic laws and its international obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to which the Trudeau government acceded almost exactly a year ago. L3Harris WESCAM, the Canadian subsidiary of U.S. defense giant L3Harris, is one of the world's leading producers and exporters of electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) imaging and targeting sensor systems — both of which are featured on the Bayraktar drones. “These sensors are integral for their ability to conduct drone warfare, which they've done increasingly... in the past few years across several conflict zones,” Kelsey Gallagher, a Project Ploughshares researcher, told Radio Canada International. “If the exports of these sensors were completely halted, then Turkey would not have the sensors necessary to conduct modern airstrikes.” “This [the suspension of Canadian supplies] may cause disruption in the production line,” said one local aerospace analyst, “unless substituted immediately.” “There may be some other foreign suppliers to be used as a stop-gap solution," the analyst added. "But this is mostly a Western (including Israeli) technology and may not reach Turkish manufacturers due to political reasons.” Turkey's top procurement official, however, has a solution. Ismail Demir, president of the defense procurement agency SSB, twitted Oct. 6, the day after the Canadian decision, that Turkey would soon start to mass produce the CATS electro-optical system, to replace the WESCAM technology used in the TB-2 drone. CATS will be produced by military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey's biggest defense company. Demir said that Aselsan has also begun to work on developing a future version of the CATS system. Demir also talked up another new indigenous ambition: Project Özgür, or “free” in Turkish. Özgür is part of a broader upgrade effort designed to extend the life of the Turkish F-16 fleet. “This program aims to completely nationalize electronic systems on our F-16s,” Demir told the HaberTurk newspaper Oct. 6. The full upgrade work will also involve structural and avionic modernization. Turkey views the F-16 upgrades as a stop-gap solution before it builds its own indigenous fighter, the TF-X. But the TF-X effort has moved at a crawl, with no notable progress in the past few years, due mainly to the lack of an engine to power the planned fighter. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/10/13/canadian-block-on-drone-parts-shows-turkeys-defense-industry-still-not-independent/

  • GA-ASI and SENER Aeroespacial Team to Develop New NATO Pod for MQ-9

    8 septembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    GA-ASI and SENER Aeroespacial Team to Develop New NATO Pod for MQ-9

    Since General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and the engineering and technology firm SENER began collaborating in 2008, the international partnership has resulted in significant agreements regarding the MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) for Spain and its adaptation to the requirements of the Spanish Armed Forces. The latest joint development effort is a NATO Pod, designed and built by SENER Aeroespacial, part of the SENER Group. GA-ASI will integrate the NATO Pod onto the MQ-9 aircraft line to increase its configuration and payload options. NATO Pod development is driven by GA-ASI's initiative to provide customers with a customizable pod for carriage of sovereign, cross-domain Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensors that can be integrated onto GA-ASI-built MQ-9A and MQ-9B RPA Systems. GA-ASI is working with European suppliers to add sensor capabilities to the new European-built payload pod that meets NATO airworthiness standards. The NATO Pod is a flexible, scalable, certifiable, aerodynamic and low-cost enclosure that enables customers to add sovereign sensor capabilities developed in their respective countries using a common set of interfaces to the aircraft system. This approach reduces integration time and cost. “With the NATO Pod, European sensor suppliers will be provided a standard Size, Weight and Power (SWAP) and Interface Control Document (ICD) to the aircraft system to efficiently integrate their payloads. This offers our customers a broader range of ISR capabilities and makes ISR-system upgrades faster,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “Interface standardization also allows sovereign containment of payload hardware and data by customers, when required.” Andrés Sendagorta, president of the SENER Group, said: “Since the beginning in 2008, the relationship between GA-ASI and SENER has been based on the existence of a common corporate philosophy where the technological component represents a fundamental link. This has led to an alliance in which the development of value-added products and technology by SENER has been applied to meet the demanding needs of GA-ASI over the years and, particularly, now with the NATO Pod that will be integrated onto the MQ-9 line. As we have stated on previous occasions, and once the first system of this type has come into operation in Spain, SENER reiterates its commitment to make available to the Spanish Ministry of Defense its capabilities and strengths in support of national industry through alliances, industrial cooperation and the development of an increasingly wide range of products.” Having successfully completed the system definition and specification phase, the conceptual and preliminary design phases, as well as the Critical Design Review at the beginning of the summer, SENER Aeroespacial is currently working for GA-ASI on the detailed design phase of the NATO Pod. SENER Aeroespacial is designing the NATO Pod from the ground up to be certifiable having established a wide set of certification base requirements that will fulfill the vast majority of demands from European certification agencies. Source: General Atomics Date: Sep 7, 2020 https://www.asdnews.com/news/defense/2020/09/07/gaasi-sener-aeroespacial-team-develop-new-nato-pod-mq9

Toutes les nouvelles