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Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter (ATRH) contract for JHL program

September 24, 2005 The U.S. Army has awarded a second contract to perform conceptual design and analysis of a vertical-takeoff-and-landing concept for the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) program. One contract, worth US$3.4 million, goes to Boeing Phantom Works for its Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter (ATRH). Boeing proposed the ATRH in the Army's low-speed category, which is for vehicles that fly between 160 and 200 knots. As previously reported, the other contract, worth US$3.45 million, was awarded to the Bell Helicopter - Boeing Phantom Works team for the QuadTiltrotor (QTR) aircraft, which was entered in the high-speed category of 250 knots or more. The Boeing Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter exploits the system maturity, the extraordinary VTOL cargo-handling versatility and the unsurpassed maritime suitability of the tandem rotor platform, which uses two equally-sized rotors that spin in opposite directions for lift.  Read More

Quad TiltRotor (QTR) aircraft development contract awarded

September 24, 2005 The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing has been awarded a $3.45 million contract by the U.S. Army to perform conceptual design and analysis of its Quad TiltRotor (QTR) aircraft for the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) Program. "The Bell Boeing team is exceptionally pleased to have been one of the teams chosen by the Joint Service Team to take the first step in providing a truly transformational vertical lift cargo aircraft," said Mike Redenbaugh, chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter. "The critical need for long range, high speed, heavy lift without access to runways is being highlighted around the world every day."  Read More

Your own helicopter for under US$20,000

September 21, 2005 Flying is not a sport generally associated with those people who are light of wallet – which makes the Mosquito Ultralight helicopter something of a rarity. The entire kit for the Mosquito can be purchased for US$20,000 and if you think the minimalist Mosquito leaves you a bit vulnerable, there’s the fully enclosed Mosquito XE and XEL which can be purchased for US$23,000 apeice. Building the kits will cost you about 200 to 300 hours to build or you can have the plane built for you for a flat US$4000. Getting airborn for under US$20,000 in your own, new helicopter is quite a feat – we’re not aware of any other helicopter in this price category and on top of that, both Mosquito variants offer very low maintenance and operating costs.  Read More

AH-64D Apache Longbow gets new Arrowhead system

September 19, 2005 Lockheed Martin has delivered the first eight Arrowhead systems for the U.S. Army's Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) program. The Arrowhead unit provides the most advanced electro-optical targeting and pilotage system available to AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter crews for maximizing safe flight in day, night and adverse-weather environments. Arrowhead continues a 23-year legacy of serving as the "eyes" of the Army's AH-64 Apache attack helicopter with the first fielding of the current TADS/PNVS in 1983. Arrowhead's newly designed FLIR sensors and avionics use leading-edge image processing techniques to give pilots the best possible resolution to avoid obstacles such as wires and tree limbs during low-level flight.  Read More

BAE VTOL UAV impresses in autonomous tests

September 7, 2005 BAE Systems has achieved its first autonomous, untethered flight of its third-generation ducted-fan unmanned aerial vehicle. The company's vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air vehicle completed a course of 10 waypoints at BAE Systems' Southern California flight test facility. The seven-minute flight of the IAV2 ducted-fan air vehicle demonstrated a pre-programmed flight plan that included automatic takeoff, waypoint navigation with multiple groundspeeds and altitudes, and loitering and automatic landing. The demonstration flight was achieved just 10 days after the air vehicle's first flight and was the 14th flight of the IAV2. Flights were conducted at temperatures of up to 109 degrees, equating to density altitudes approaching 7,000 feet, in winds of nearly 15 knots.  Read More

The Walrus: the US Army contemplates building an aircraft the size of a football field

September 6, 2005 Moving an elephant atom by atom costs a lot more than moving the elephant in one pre-assembled lump. And that is what the US Army’s Project Walrus is about – putting together an entire action unit of war machinery, with all the wiring and plumbing preinstalled, and placing it in the most strategic place. Whilst this would completely rewrite the way that war is conducted, the Walrus - a massive lozenge-shaped blimp the size of a football field capable of transporting 500 tons at a time - could offer solutions to myriad peacetime problems, opening land-locked countries to trade, enabling heavy construction materials to be delivered into urban centres with minimum disruption, freeing our highways of high volume, heavy loads, offering a more robust and agile air transportation network capable of absorbing disruptions due to weather or attack. Indeed, business logistics could again be completely rethought and streamlined because many physical transportation limits would no longer apply once a fleet of commercial walruses became available. The walrus does not require an airstrip and can land on water or on open ground.  Read More

Australian Army scores Bulls-Eye with first Hellfire II launched from a Eurocopter Tiger A...

August 11, 2005 The Australian Army scored a first when it performed the first successful firing of a HELLFIRE II missile from Australia's Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH), at the Woomera test range in Australia's southern desert earlier this week. The Tiger is the first non-U.S. platform to integrate the HELLFIRE II missile. The missile was equipped with an inert warhead and was launched in the lock-on-before-launch mode by a Eurocopter test pilot, targeting a simulated armored personnel carrier (APC) target six kilometers downrange. The target was designated by the launching ARH helicopter. The missile struck dead center, leaving a gaping hole in the target. The Hellfire II comes in four models: the high-explosive anti-tank missile, the blast fragmentation missile, the millimeter-wave radar Longbow missile and the thermobaric Hellfire missile. Watch the videos inside to understand the differences between each lethal variant.  Read More

Next generation MH60-R submarine hunter and surface attack helicopter begins production

August 5, 2005 The first new production Sikorsky MH-60R took to the skies last week indicating the next phase of naval helicopter warfare is about to begin. The MH-60R is the next generation submarine hunter and surface attack helicopter and will replace the US fleet's legacy SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. The Navy is expected to order as many as 254 MH-60R aircraft through 2015, with production quantities increasing to 30 aircraft per year.  Read More

Bell Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH): Hunter AND Killer

August 2, 2005 Bell Helicopter last week was awarded a US$2.2 billion contract by the United States Army to build 368 of its next generation Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) between 2006 and 2013. The ARH will replace the Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Helicopter and it is a significant improvement being fast agile and able to stalk its prey like nothing else in the air. Indeed, there's nothing it can’t spot in any weather, day or night thanks to its FLIR system. Not only can it track its prey, it can also be proactive thanks to an array of weapons systems such as a 2,000rpm Gatling gun, 2.75 inch rockets, Hellfire missiles or as many as 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) tubes at one time. With room for two pilots and three passengers, the ARH has room for the smartest weapons of all. Finally, it thrives in adverse conditions with its high ballistic tolerance, crashworthiness and the latest aircraft survivability equipment. Bell’s ARH is a militarized version of its highly successful 407 single engine light helicopter – sometimes known as the “sports car of the air.” Capable of being equipped with a wide variety of weapons, the Bell ARH will provide the Army with exceptional mission versatility and with the flexibility to accomplish armed reconnaissance, light attack, troop insertion, and special operations missions with a single aircraft. Check out this video of the Bell ARH doing its thing.  Read More

Fire Scout helicopter UAV successfully fires test rockets

July 27, 2005 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's RQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned air vehicle (UAV) reached another important milestone this week when the UAV successfully fired two test rockets. This is the first successful live weapons fire from an autonomous unmanned helicopter. This event proves Fire Scout's ability to perform strike missions -- in addition to conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- and subsequently expands its capabilities.  Read More

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