Wednesday, December 03, 2008

F-35 Lightning II - Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), International

F-35 Lightning II - Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), International (NSI News Source Info) December 3, 2008: The F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF), is being developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the UK Royal Navy.
The first flight of the CTOL F-35A took place on 15 December 2006. JSF is being built in CTOL, carrier-based and STOVL variants. The stealthy, supersonic multi-role fighter was designated the F-35 Lightning II in July 2006. The JSF is being built in three variants: a conventional take-off and landing aircraft (CTOL) for the US Air Force; a carrier variant (CV) for the US Navy; and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. A 70%-90% commonality is required for all variants. The requirement is for: USAF F-35A air-to-ground strike aircraft, replacing F-16 and A-10, complementing F-22 (1763); USMC F-35B – STOVL strike fighter to replace F/A-18B/C and AV-8B (480); UK RN F-35C – STOVL strike fighter to replace Sea Harriers (60); US Navy F-35C – first-day-of-war strike fighter to replace F/A-18B/C and A-6, complementing the F/A-18E/F (480 aircraft). In January 2001, the UK MoD signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate in the SDD (system development and demonstration) phase of JSF and, in September 2002, selected the STOVL variant to fulfil the future joint combat aircraft (FJCA) requirement. Following the contract award, other nations signed up to the SDD phase are: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Turkey. Concept demonstration phase The concept demonstration phase of the programme began in November 1996 with the award of contracts to two consortia, led by Boeing Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. The contracts involved the building of demonstrator aircraft for three different configurations of JSF, with one of the two consortia to be selected for the development and manufacture of all three variants. In October 2001, an international team led by Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to build JSF. An initial 22 aircraft (14 flying test aircraft and eight ground-test aircraft) will be built in the programme's system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. Flight testing will be carried out at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland. Aerial refuelling of the F-35A and concept demonstration phase of the programme began in November 1996. In April 2003, JSF completed a successful preliminary design review (PDR). The critical design review (CDR) for the F-35A was completed in February 2006, for the F-35B in October 2006 and for the F-35C in June 2007. The first flight of the CTOL F-35A took place on 15 December 2006. Low-rate initial production (LRIP) for the F-35A/B was approved in April 2007 with an order for two CTOL aircraft. An LRIP 2 contract for six CTOL aircraft was placed in July 2007. The STOVL F-35B was rolled out in December 2007 and made its first flight, a conventional take-off and landing, in June 2008. STOVL flights are to begin in early 2009. An LRIP contract for six F-35B STOVL aircraft was placed in July 2008. The F-35C is scheduled for first flight in mid-2009. The F-35A fighter is expected to enter service in 2010, the F-35B in 2012. The first flight of the F-35 powered by the GE Rolls-Royce F136 engine is scheduled for 2010 with first production engine deliveries in 2012. Critical design review was completed in February 2008. By the end of 2006, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK had signed the MoU for the F-35 Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development (PSFD) phase. Norway and Turkey (requirement 100 F-35A) signed in January 2007. Denmark and Italy (requirement 131 F-35A and B) signed in February 2007. In May 2008, Israel requested the sale of 25 F-35A aircraft with 50 options. In September 2004, Lockheed Martin announced that, following concerns over the weight of the STOVL F-35B, design changes had reduced the aircraft weight by 1,225kg while increasing propulsion efficiency and reducing drag. The weight requirements will also call for a smaller internal weapons bay than on the other variants. The Lockheed Martin JSF team includes Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Pratt and Whitney and Rolls-Royce. Final assembly of the aircraft will take place at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth plant in Texas. Major subassemblies will be produced by Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems at El Segundo, California and BAE Systems at Samlesbury, Lancashire, England. BAE Systems is responsible for the design and integration of the aft fuselage, horizontal and vertical tails and the wing-fold mechanism for the CV variant, using experience from the Harrier STOVL programme. Terma of Denmark and Turkish Aerospace Industries of Turkey are supplying sub-assemblies for the centre fuselage. Design In order to minimise the structural weight and complexity of assembly, the wingbox section integrates the wing and fuselage section into one piece. To minimise radar signature, sweep angles are identical for the leading and trailing edges of the wing and tail (planform alignment). The fuselage and canopy have sloping sides. The seam of the canopy and the weapon bay doors are sawtoothed and the vertical tails are canted at an angle. The marine variant of JSF is very similar to the air force variant, but with a slightly shorter range because some of the space used for fuel is used for the lift fan of the STOVL propulsion system. The F-35B counter-rotating lift fan, developed by Rolls-Royce, can generate more than 20,000lb of thrust. To minimise radar signature, sweep angles are identical for the leading and trailing edges of the wing and tail. The main differences between the naval variant and the other versions of JSF are associated with the carrier operations. The internal structure of the naval version is very strong to withstand the high loading of catapult-assisted launches and tailhook arrested landings. The aircraft has larger wing and tail control surfaces for low-speed approaches for carrier landing. Larger leading edge flaps and foldable wingtip sections provide a larger wing area, which provides an increased range and payload capacity. The canopy (supplied by GKN Aerospace), radar and most of the avionics are common to the three variants. Cockpit and avionics systems L-3 Display Systems is developing the panoramic cockpit display system, which will include two 10in x 8in active matrix liquid crystal displays and display management computer. The following will also supply F-35 avionics systems: *BAE Systems Avionics - side stick and throttle controls *Vision Systems International (a partnership between Kaiser Electronics and Elbit of Israel) - advanced helmet-mounted display *BAE Systems Platform Solutions - alternative design helmet-mounted display, based on the binocular helmet being developed for the Eurofighter Typhoon *Ball Aerospace - communications, navigation and integration (CNI) integrated body antenna suite (one S-band, two UHF, two radar altimeter, three L-band antennas in each aircraft) *Harris Corporation - advanced avionics systems, infrastructure, image processing, digital map software, fibre optics, high-speed communications links and part of the communications, navigation and information (CNI) system *Honeywell - radar altimeter, inertial navigation / global positioning system (INS/GPS) and air data transducers *Raytheon - 24-channel GPS with digital anti-jam receiver (DAR). Weapons Weapons are carried in two parallel bays located in front of the landing gear. Each weapons bay is fitted with two hardpoints for carrying a range of bombs and missiles. "Weapons are carried in two bays located in front of the landing gear." Weapons to be cleared for internal carriage include: JDAM (joint direct attack munition), CBU-105 WCMD (wind-corrected munitions dispenser) for the sensor-fused weapon, JSOW (joint stand-off weapon), Paveway IV guided bombs, small diameter bomb (SDB), AIM-120C AMRAAM air-to-air missile and Brimstone anti-armour missile; for external carriage: JASSM (joint air-to-surface stand-off missile), AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM and Storm Shadow cruise missile. In September 2002, General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products was selected as the gun system integrator. The air force variant has an internally mounted gun. The carrier and marine variants can have an external gun pod fitted. Targeting Lockheed Martin Missile & Fire Control and Northrop Grumman Electronic Sensors and Systems are jointly responsible for the JSF electro-optical system. A Lockheed Martin electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) will provide long-range detection and precision targeting, along with the Northrop Grumman DAS (distributed aperture system) thermal imaging system. EOTS will be based on the Sniper XL pod developed for the F-16, which incorporates a mid-wave third-generation FLIR, dual mode laser, CCD TV, laser tracker and laser marker. BAE Systems Avionics in Edinburgh, Scotland will provide the laser systems. DAS consists of multiple infrared cameras (supplied by Indigo Systems of Goleta, California) providing 360° coverage using advanced signal conditioning algorithms. As well as situational awareness, DAS provides navigation, missile warning and infrared search and track (IRST). EOTS is embedded under the aircraft's nose, and DAS sensors are fitted at multiple locations on the aircraft. Radar Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is developing the advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) AN/APG-81 multi-function radar. The AN/APG-81AESA will combine an integrated radio frequency subsystem with a multifunction array. "A Lockheed Martin electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) will provide long-range detection and precision targeting." The radar system will also incorporate the agile beam steering capabilities developed for the APG-77. Northrop Grumman delivered the first radar to Lockheed Martin in March 2005 for flight testing. Countermeasures BAE Systems Information & electronic warfare systems (IEWS) will be responsible for the JSF integrated electronic warfare suite, which will be installed internally and have some subsystems from Northrop Grumman. BAE is developing a new digital radar warning receiver for the F-35. Systems Other suppliers will include: *ATK Composites - upper wing skins *Vought Aircraft Industries - lower wing skins *Smiths Aerospace - electronic control systems, electrical power system (with Hamilton Sundstrand), integrated canopy frame *Honeywell - landing system wheels and brakes, onboard oxygen-generating system (OBOGS), engine components, power and thermal management system driven by integrated auxiliary power unit (APU) *Parker Aerospace - fuel system, hydraulics for lift fan, engine controls and accessories *Moog Inc - primary flight control electrohydrostatic actuation system (EHAS), leading edge flap drive system and wing-fold system *EDO Corporation - pneumatic weapon delivery system *Goodrich - lift-fan anti-icing system *Stork Aerospace - electrical wiring Propulsion Early production lots of all three variants will be powered by the Pratt and Whitney afterburning turbofan F-135 engine, a derivative of the F119 fitted on the F-22. Following production aircraft will be powered by either the F135 or the F-136 turbofan being developed by General Electric and Rolls-Royce. However, in the 2007 US Military Budget, published in February 2006, no funding was allocated for the development of the F-136 engine. The US Congress voted to restore funding for the F-136 in October 2006. "DAS sensors are fitted at multiple locations on the joint strike fighter." Each engine will be fitted with two BAE Systems full authority digital electronic control (FADEC) systems. Hamilton Sundstrand is providing the gearbox. On the F-35B, the engine is coupled with a shaft-driven lift fan system for STOVL propulsion. The counter-rotating lift fan, developed by Rolls-Royce Defence, can generate more than 20,000lb of thrust. Doors installed above and below the vertical fan open as the fin spins up to provide vertical lift. The main engine has a three-bearing swivelling exhaust nozzle. The nozzle, which is supplemented by two roll control ducts on the inboard section of the wing, together with the vertical lift fan provide the required STOVL capability. Key Data F-35A (CTOL).................................Conventional take-off and landing for US Air Force F-35B (STOVL)Short take-off and landing for US Marine Corps, and the UK Navy and Air Force F-35C (CV).......................................Carrier variant for US Navy CTOL and STOVL............................15.4m Length CTOL and STOVL.............................4.6m Height CTOL and STOVL..............................10.6m Wingspan CV Length ............................................15.5m

Embraer Sells Six E-190s to Globalia

Embraer Sells Six E-190s to Globalia
(NSI News Source Info) SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS, Brazil - December 3, 2008: Embraer signed a firm order with Globalia, owned by Juan José Hidalgo, President of JJH Capital and Air Europa, for an additional six EMBRAER 195 jets, to be operated by Air Europa, a subsidiary of Globalia. The deal is valued at US$ 237 million, at list price, based on January 2008 economic conditions, and converts the purchase rights originally announced in February 2008. This transaction is already included in Embraer’s third quarter firm order backlog as “undisclosed”.
“This is great news for Embraer and we are very pleased to broaden our relationship with Air Europa. The company’s decision to further expand its E-Jets fleet makes us really proud,” said Mauro Kern, Embraer Executive Vice President, Airline Market. “I’m sure the EMBRAER 195 will nicely complement their wide and narrow body fleets and will play an important role in their expansion plans.”
The new EMBRAER 195 will be flown by Air Europa on short and medium routes in Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, and Europe. Delivery of the first aircraft confirming a purchase right, should take place by mid-2010. Air Europa will be the first operator in the world to fly the EMBRAER 195 in a single-class, 122-seat layout.
“The E-Jets are a proven product and we are confident the EMBRAER 195 is the right aircraft to achieve our strategy of growing our network,” said Maria José Hidalgo, General Director of Air Europa. “Configured with 122 seats, the aircraft offers a highly competitive cost-per-seat against the larger narrowbodies, without compromising efficiency or passenger comfort.”
It is noteworthy that one aircraft from the original order of six has been sold by Globalia to an undisclosed customer, resulting in a fleet of 11 EMBRAER 195 jets when all deliveries are completed.
The EMBRAER 195 entered service in September 2006, and is the largest aircraft of the four member E-Jets family. On September 30, 2008, Embraer had logged 865 firm orders and 813 options for the E-Jets family. With a total of more than 450 aircraft delivered to date, the family has accumulated a customer base of 52 operators in 34 countries, worldwide, surpassing 2 million flight hours.
Air Europa was founded in 1986, and is the airline division of Globalia Corporation. Since 1991, Air Europa has focused its activities on positioning itself as one of Europe’s most modern airlines, and it currently operates a fleet of 42 jets.
Embraer is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jets up to 120 seats, and one of Brazil’s leading exporters. Embraer’s headquarters are located in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, and it has offices, industrial operations and customer service facilities in Brazil, the United States, France, Portugal, China and Singapore. Founded in 1969, the Company designs, develops, manufactures and sells aircraft for the Commercial Aviation, Executive Aviation, and Defense and Government segments. The Company also provides after sales support and services to customers worldwide. On September 30, 2008, Embraer had a workforce of 23,745 employees and a firm order backlog of US$ 21.6 billion.

EADS Awarded U.S. Army Helicopter Contract

EADS Awarded U.S. Army Helicopter Contract (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - December 3, 2008: The North American division of EADS, the European aerospace giant, has been awarded at 208 million dollar contract to supply the U.S. Army with 39 light utility helicopters, the Pentagon announced Dec. 2. The Pentagon said the work will be performed in Columbus, Mississippi and Grand Prairie, Texas with an estimated date of completion of August 31, 2010. The firm fixed price contract was awarded November 26, the Pentagon said.

Brazil Approves Sale of 100 Missiles to Pakistan

Brazil Approves Sale of 100 Missiles to Pakistan (NSI News Source Info) BRASILIA - December 3, 2008Brazilian authorities Dec. 2 gave approval for the sale of 100 missiles to Pakistan which can be used in air-to-surface attacks on radar tracking installations, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said.The MAR-1 medium-range missiles made by the Brazilian firm Mectron are tactical anti-radiation weapons whose existence was kept under wraps for many years, according to Jane's Information Group. Jobim called them "very effective ways to monitor" areas flown by warplanes, and said the deal with Pakistan, originally signed in April this year, was worth $108 million. He dismissed suggestions that the transaction might be questioned in light of last week's Islamist extremist massacre perpetrated in Mumbai, India, which some Indian officials suspected was launched from within Pakistan. "Brazil negotiates with Pakistan, not with Pakistani terrorists," he said. "To cancel this deal would be to attribute terrorist activities to the Pakistani government."

Robotics, UGVs and Remotely controlled systems

Robotics, UGVs and Remotely controlled systems (NSI News Source Info) December 3, 2008: Only few new robotic platforms were displayed at AUSA 2008, but much progress was reported and displayed with current programs, including the Army's Future Combat Systems (Micro Aerial Vehicle Class I, Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), and autonomous guidance system, destined for integration in all FCS manned and unmanned vehicles to support autonomy and teleoperation. A range of enhancements developed for the Dragon Runner was unveiled by QinetiQ, targeting future US Marine Corps requirements while iRobot introduced the SUGV 300 family, transforming the company's current product line designed toward the future FCS SUGV. Much progress was made with the MULE, a larger member of the FCS robotic team. MULE is currently undergoing ground and mobility tests and is expected to enter operational evaluation with the FCS evaluation force by next year.
The new range of 'Dragon Runner' Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV). was unveiled at AUSA 2008 by QinetiQ North America. These robots represent a modular ground robot system capable of performing a wide range of missions in urban, mountainous or rural environments, from underground and in-house to the handling of improvised explosive device (IEDs).
iRobot introduced the SUGV300 family of robots derived from the latest development of the Pacbot, earlier known as the 'Future Combat Systems Small UGV (FCS-UGV). Actually, one of teh members of the new family, the SUGV320 is the robot designated for the future FCS mission (SUGV). Other versions are being produced for near term fielding, as part of the first 'Spinout' of the FS program. Among these are the SUGV300 designed as a basic reconnaissance lightweight robot and the SUGV310, designed for dismounted EOD missions. The '300 is the basic platform, without payloads, weighing only 25 lbs (11.3 kg). All the SUGV300 family robots fit into the soldier's backpack (MOLLE) or ALICE packs, and are powered by standard BB-2590/U batteries for more than six hours of operation. Another robotic component of the FCS to be utilized on all manned and unmanned vehicles, is the Autonomous Navigation System (ANS) developed by General Dynamics Robotics Systems. ANS is one of the basic components to be integrated in many Future Combat Systems autonomous and optionally autonomous driven vehicles. The system is currently being integrated and tested. During these tests the ANS team demonstrated that the system has matured enough to be ready for integration into tactical trucks and Stryker combat vehicles. Another robotic member of the FCS family is the MULE, being developed by Lockheed Martin. The latest version of the ULE was on display at AUSA, demonstrating its new wheels, utilizing springs made of composite materials, instead of inflatable tires. These wheels are less vulnerable to small-arms and fragments hits, and can operate continuously without replacement or maintenance even after suffering severe damage or hits. A near term alternative to the futuristic MULE was unveiled here by the name 'Gideon', by the Israeli company MDT. This armored version of a 6x6 Polaris ATV s modified by MDT Armor to provide a protected logistical support vehicle supporting forward elements. The vehicle cab is protected against small-arms up to 7.62 AP. The vehicle is suitable for carrying heavy or otherwise sensitive load (such as missiles, ammunition or sensitive electronic equipment. On the return trip the vehicle could be configured to carry two wounded soldiers on litters. Among the new versions of the Pacbot 510, I-Robot displayed an application of the head-aimed remote viewer (HARV) developed by Chatten Associates. By duplicating the operator's head motions this control mechanism increases the UGV operator's performance by 300-400% demonstrated in tested conducted under DARA and the Army Research Labs studies. The system comprises of a visor embedded with an OLED display and an electronics and power unit. The system can utilize the vehicle's existing communications link. Northrop Grumman displayed the STARLite compact, synthetic aperture radar latest at AUSA 2008. (picture in right) The radar is destined for the Army's Firescout Class IV UAV. Considered as a complimentary sensor to the U.S. Army Future Combat Systems program, STARLite features an electronically scanned array design providing an optimal balance of operational and cost effectiveness by blending electronic scanning with mechanical array positioning.
The new radar will provide precision ground mapping and indicate moving targets on surveillance and target acquisition missions. Sofar the program focused on the technical issues associated with transition to production, said U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Terrance Howard, product manager for the STARLite program. He confirmed that Northrop Grumman, the prime contractor successfully demonstrated the system during the source selection phase and that the program is on schedule to qualify the system by early 2009. The goal is to deliver 15 units to the warfighter by June 2009. In April 2008 Northrop Grumman was awarded a $47 development contract to manufacture these systems. In many parts of the world, foliage is one of the most effective concealment resources available to military or terrorist forces. Thales is offering a solution to the problem of detecting and distinguishing threats hiding in a forested or jungle area or along forest paths, behind tree canopies. The Ground Alerter 1 non-line-of-sight UHF ground-based short range radar is designed to improve perimeter and border protection in densely forested terrains terrain. The radar uses a static portable antenna, mounted on a tripod, or a fixed, mast-mounted unit built on a roof. The radar continuously and automatically monitors the covered area, at ranges from 150 to 1,200 meters and will alert the operator of the presence of an intruder with minimal operator intervention and low false-alarm rate. The radar can be integrated with other sensors to complement existing security systems.
SRI's wall-climbing robots scale vertical surfaces by virtue of electro-adhesion, which involves inducing electrostatic charges on a wall substrate. Since 2007 SRI developed several proof of principle robots, under a DARPA funded program.
Another new on display at AUSA 2008 was QuickMeds - a precision delivery system designed for emergency situations where traditional supply methods might place additional soldiers at risk. Under the US Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Quick-MEDS program Dynetics is developing a multi-purpose GPS/INS based guided delivery system. The current design is sized for tactical UAS with 20 lbs total weight per pod (10 lbs payload). The QM payload is scalable and in phase 2 design is compatible with standard 14" lug mechanisms for deployment from larger aircraft (both manned and unmanned). During the guided drops performed sofar Quick-MEDS successfully demonstrated effective guidance and control guiding the payload within 2 meters from its designated target and a total system error of less than 10 meters throughout the tests.

Taiwan's air force denies transporting cash for ex-president

Taiwan's air force denies transporting cash for ex-president (NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI (AFP) — December 3, 2008: Taiwan's air force on Wednesday denied allegations that it assisted former president Chen Shui-bian by smuggling cash, as a money laundering probe into the detained Chen's activities continued. "The air force abided by the rules strictly to operate the presidential jet and didn't do anything outside the law," it said in a statement. The comment came after fresh accusations that Chen used the presidential jet to smuggle 5.17 million US dollars in cash to the Pacific Ocean island of Palau during a state visit there in 2006. Kuomintang lawmaker Chiu Yi, one of the first politicians to allege Chen's role in taking bribes, money laundering and embezzlement, made the claim on Taiwanese television that the money was stashed aboard the jet when it departed for the state trip. Chen's office has flatly denied the allegations and has threatened to sue political commentator Sisy Chen for making similar claims last week in a column for the Apple Daily newspaper, for what it regards as a smear against the ex-leader. Palau is one of the 23 countries that formally recognise Taipei over Beijing. Chen, his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and brother-in-law have all been named as defendants in a money laundering case. The ex-leader, detained since last month, is also being investigated for allegedly embezzling government funds as well as taking bribes and document forgery. Chen, the first former Taiwanese leader ever to be arrested, could be held for four months before prosecutors have to press charges on him. His family has agreed to send back 21 million US dollars found in their Swiss bank accounts in cooperation with the probe, prosecutors said. Chen, whose pro-independence stance while in office had angered Beijing, has repeatedly accused the island's current China-friendly government of being behind the corruption allegations against him. Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing still claims the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

India-Pakistan Border at Wagah....daily ceremony

India-Pakistan Border at Wagah....daily ceremony (NSI News Source Info) December 3, 2008: Pakistani Rangers (In Black) and Indian Border Security Force personnel perform the daily retreat ceremony on the India-Pakistan Border at Wagah. Pakistan offered Tuesday (Dec. 2, 2008) to work hand-in-hand with India to track down those responsible for the Mumbai attacks but declined to respond immediately to a demand that it hand over 20 terrorist suspects. Pakistani Rangers (In Black) and Indian Border Security Force personnel perform the daily retreat ceremony on the India-Pakistan Border at Wagah. Ties between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals have become strained in the wake of last week's devastating attacks by Islamist militants which left 188 people dead.