Sunday, October 04, 2009

DTN News: (K)DC-10 With Boeing-Modified Cockpit Completes Certification Flight Tests

DTN News: (K)DC-10 With Boeing-Modified Cockpit Completes Certification Flight Tests
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, USA - October 4, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] announced Oct. 1, 2009 that a (K)DC-10 modified with Fokker Services and Boeing's Cockpit Upgrade Program (CUP) has completed a certification flight-test program that began in July 2008. The 2 KDC-10 are Dutch tanker and transport aircraft from the Royal Netherlands Air Force which can rapidly deploy large numbers of cargo and troops over long distances. Besides, they can refuel other NATO aircraft like F-16 fighter jets and other aircraft equipped to be refueled by a boom system. By refueling fighter jets, they will have to make less starts and landings which take care of a better environment around an air force base. Secondary the refuel aircraft take care that during operations the operational aircraft can fly over longer distances and can stay longer in the sky.These two aspects were used when Dutch F-16's toke part of Operation Enduring Freedom. To refuel other aircraft the KDC-10 has a long boom on the back of the aircraft where a controller in the KDC-10 maneuvers the boom with joysticks to the fighter jet. The KDC-10 are the largest aircraft from the RNLAF.BackgroundThe Royal Netherlands Air Force has 2 KDC-10 (number T235 and T264) and 1 DC-10 (which comes operation in 2007). Furthermore the Air Force will get a 4th DC-10. The 2 KDC-10 aircraft were bought in june 1992 from the civil airliner Martinair (in those days they were designated with DC-10) and came operational in 1995. After they had been bought they were converted to tanker and military transport aircraft. To make it a military aircraft it must have specific NAVO equipment like avionics, navigation- and communications systems. Other systems that were build in into the planes are: the installation of the 'boom'-system and -lightening, adjustment of the fuel-, electric and hydraulic systems to use the boom, a 'Remote Air Refueling Operating' (RARO)-control station with the corresponding systems. The boom operator control station is direct behind the cockpit. CUP provides aircraft with new flight-management and display systems as well as improved communications. Crewmembers from the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), Fokker and subcontractor Boeing conducted the certification program's five-hour final test flight from the Netherlands' Eindhoven Air Base on Aug. 26. "We are pleased with the results of the flight tests for this system, which will provide the RNLAF with the worldwide navigation capability we need as we continue to share assets with other European countries," said RNLAF Maj. Michel Broekman. The program now moves into the certification process with the Netherlands' certification authority, followed by customer acceptance early next year. Next, the CUP-modified aircraft will begin Operational Test and Evaluation (OTE) with the RNLAF crew. Upon completion of OTE for the first aircraft, the RNLAF will induct the next of two more (K)DC-10s for the CUP modification in 2010. "Our success with this upgrade positions us well for future modification work in the communication, navigation, surveillance and air-traffic management arena. The CUP modification offers an affordable, proven solution for other aircraft, including the KC-10," said Mark Rowland, (K)DC-10 CUP program manager for Boeing. Boeing submitted a proposal in July for the U.S. Air Force's KC-10 Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) upgrade program. The contract is expected to be awarded in May 2010. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: MRAP As Mothership

DTN News: MRAP As Mothership *Source: DTN News / Defense News (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - October 4, 2009: Some 12 ton Cougar 6x6 MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) have been modified and used successfully as RVSs (Reconnaissance Vehicle Systems). These are used for combat reconnaissance (along a road that might have roadside bombs) as well as route clearance (getting rid of the roadside bombs).BAE has worked hard to catch up, even as the number of MRAPs in the program more than doubled to over 15,000. The final tally gave them a wide 2nd place lead over 3rd place firm Force Protection. It also made them one of just 2 firms with a foothold under new MRAP-II qualifications, which includes protection against EFP (explosively-formed projectile) land mines that fire the equivalent of a cannon shell at the vehicle, in addition to the standard under-body blasts. As of December 2007, more than 2,000 BAE Systems employees in the United States and 400 in South Africa (BAE OMC, producing General Dynamics’ entry) are producing vehicles with the support of suppliers in more than 30 states across the United States. Key production locations include York, PA; Fairfield, OH; Aiken, SC, and Sealy, TX, with production assistance from partners Spartan Motors Chassis and Demmer Corporation. Of the envisaged 15,771 vehicles in the MRAP-I program as of March 31/08, all have now been ordered. Orders continue to be placed under the original MRAP vehicle solicitation until production verification of vehicles presented for testing in response to the MRAP II solicitation is completed, or an interim buy is approved. Thus far, BAE has directly received MRAP contract orders to date for 5,120 vehicles: *369 RG-33 MRAP CAT-I and SOCOM variants *1,710 RG-33L (MRAP CAT-II w. optional robotic arm) *179 RG-33L MEDEVAC Ambulance variant *2,178 BAE-TVS Caimans, CAT-I seating internally *684 BAE-TVS Caimans, CAT-II seating internally Based on these orders, BAE remains 2nd place in the MRAP CAT-I/II race, with 32.4% of all orders to date. This is a major improvement from its position earlier in the competition, and its own high-end RG-33 vehicles now own a respectable 14.3% share. The leader is still Navistar with 38.3%, a lead that widened recently when its lighter “MaxxPro Dash” was selected by the US Army in a recent order for the Afghan theater. One-time leader Force Protection has slipped to a distant 3rd place at 19.5% and is unlikely to receive further MRAP orders. To that end, the RVS is equipped with a remotely controlled (from inside the RVS) 12.7mm machine-gun turret, blue force tracker (to see where all other friendly vehicles are) and several external vidcams. The most interesting feature is a robot deployment and recovery system. The robot has its own armored compartment, and it can exit the RVS, check out a suspected roadside bomb, and return to the RVS, all without exposing any of the human crew to enemy fire. Basically, RVS is a 12 ton truck that is hardened to survive bombs and mines. The Cougar can get troops into combat situations where mines, explosives or any kind of obstacle, have to be cleared, or just survived. The RVS was designed to carry 16 troops, but with all the extra equipment, normally carries fewer than ten. The RVSs cost about a million dollars each, and have been very successful in combat. The U.S. Navy evaluated nine suppliers for the procurement of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) trucks, destined to augment and later replace up-armored HMMWVs currently operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new vehicles provides much improved protection , specifically against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which cause 70% of all U.S. casualties in Iraq. The Cougar from Force Protection Industries is the most widely sought-after armored vehicle under the military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) program. The vehicle is designed with a V-shaped underbody that was adapted from the hull of the speedboats the company used to make. Force Protection has now won more than $1 billion in Cougar orders, including contracts for almost half of the armored vehicles being purchased through MRAP. According to Force Protection Industries, not a single person has died in a Cougar after more than 2 million operational hours. Here, two Marines stand in front of a Cougar after it was hit last December by an improvised explosive device less than a meter away. While the occupants suffered minor injuries, including blown eardrums, they were able to drive home at 30 miles per hour with two good tires.

DTN News: China And India To Manufacture BM-30 (9K58) MLRS

DTN News: China And India To Manufacture BM-30 (9K58) MLRS *Source: DTN News / Defense News (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 4, 2009: Russia has sold manufacturing licenses for its BM-30 (9K58) multiple rocket launchers to China and India. No price was announced, and the deal may involve a royalty for each launcher and rocket produced. The 9K58 entered service in the late 1980s, just before the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union dissolved. Think of this as Russians answer to the American MLRS. Nicknamed Smerch (Tornado), this twelve tube launcher fires 300mm rockets, that have a max range of 90 kilometers and weigh about 550 pounds (depending on type). A 44 ton wheeled vehicle carries the launcher and the three man crew. The vehicle can be ready to fire in three minutes, and can move on within two minutes of firing. All twelve rounds can be fired within 38 seconds. It takes twenty minutes to reload. Russia has been selling the BM-30 vehicles for about $12 million each (including a supply of rockets and technical support). Russia has about 300 BM-30s. About 150 have been exported so far. China reverse engineered the BM-30 as the A100, which was introduced in 2002. But the A100 was inferior to the BM-30, especially in terms of reliability. By buying a manufacturing license, China can now improve the effectiveness of its A100 systems, especially the propellant in the rockets (which the Chinese have had a lot of trouble with). The competition is the U.S. M270 MLRS, which entered service in 1982. This system fires twelve 227mm (650 pound) or two 610mm (1.6 ton) rockets. The smaller rockets have a max range of 70 kilometers, the larger ones, 300 kilometers. The rockets are carried on a 25 ton tracked vehicle and has a crew of three. There is also a lighter, wheeled vehicle, that carries six 227mm or one 610mm rockets. The MLRS costs about the same as the BM-30, and now has GPS guided rockets, which provides a major advantage over the BM-30.

DTN News: France Deployed Own SIDM UAV In Afghanistan

DTN News: France Deployed Own SIDM UAV In Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - October 4, 2009: France has finally developed a competitor for the U.S. Predator, and they are sending three of them to Afghanistan next month. The EADS SIDM is actually a modified version of the Israeli IAI Eagle UAV. SIDM is, like Predator, a 1.2 ton UAV that can stay in the air for up to 24 hours, at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet. SIDM has a 51.4 foot wingspan and a total payload capacity of 600 pounds. EADS and Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI), have successfully completed the first flight of a MALE UAV System in France. The drone SIDM (Systeme Interimaire de Drone Male) flew from the Istres air base, the DGA (French armaments procurement agency) fly test centre with full communication package including satellite communication and line-of-sight data links. This flight, operated from the operational SIDM ground station, demonstrated the integrity of the UAV system, in particular the Automatic Take-Off and Landing (ATOL), satellite communication and the integral command and control functions. The Predator is a one ton aircraft that is 27 feet long with a wingspan of 49 feet. It has two hard points, which usually carry one (107 pound) Hellfire each. Each hard point can also carry a Stinger air-to-air missile. Max speed of the Predator is 215 kilometers an hour, max cruising speed is 160 kilometers an hour. Max altitude is 25,000 feet. Typical sorties are 12-20 hours each. Predator is being replaced by Sky Warrior, and was developed into a larger combat version, the Reaper. The MQ-9 Reaper is a 4.7 ton, 36 foot long aircraft with a 66 foot wingspan that looks like the MQ-1. It has six hard points, and can carry 1,500 pounds of weapons. These include Hellfire missiles (up to eight), two Sidewinder or two AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, two Maverick missiles, two 500 pound smart bombs (laser or GPS guided.) Max speed is 400 kilometers an hour, and max endurance is 15 hours. The Reaper is considered a combat aircraft, to replace F-16s or A-10s. The MQ-1C Sky Warrior weighs 1.5 tons, carries 300 pounds of sensors internally, and up to 500 pounds of sensors or weapons externally. It has an endurance of up to 36 hours and a top speed of 270 kilometers an hour. Sky Warrior has a wingspan 56 feet and is 28 feet long. The Sky Warrior can land and take off automatically, and carry four Hellfire missiles (compared to two on the Predator). France chose to develop their new UAV using an Israeli aircraft because the Israelis are pioneers in the field. The Predator owes much to earlier Israeli designs, and Israeli UAVs get lots of combat experience. SIDM finished its acceptance tests last Summer, and the last six months have been spent training operators and maintainers.