Posts Tagged ‘Boeing’

All American Air Force One

February 2, 2009

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There will be no foreign-sourced Air Force One presidential aircraft — at least as far as the prime European contender for the Air Force One replacement contract is concerned.

 EADS North America announced this week that it will stay out of the forthcoming contest to supply the next Presidential fixed-wing transport aircraft, reports Air Force Magazine. This means that there will be no Airbus platform in the forthcoming competition to supply the modified commercial widebody aircraft that will replace the current 747-based Air Force One fleet, presumably leaving Boeing as the sole prospective bidder. E

ADS NA spokesman Tim Paynter told the Daily Report that the company, after careful review, has determined that participation in the Air Force One program “will not help” the company meet its business objectives. Those growth objectives, he said, include “bringing value to the US warfighter, making industrial investments in the US, and insourcing high technology defense and aerospace jobs.”

Instead, Paynter said EADS NA remains focused on tasks such as working with its partner Northrop Grumman to prevail in the KC-X tanker competition. Earlier this month, the Air Force announced its intent to procure a new fleet of three aircraft to serve as the next-generation Presidential fleet starting in 2017. (For more, read yesterday’s Los Angeles Times report and AFP’s report.)

Boeing A160T Unmanned Rotorcraft Reaches Two Key Milestones

December 23, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

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Boeing announced last week that its A160 Turbine (A160T) Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft has achieved two key milestones: using its two-speed transmission to change gears in flight, and passing the 100-flight-hour threshold.

“Being able to shift gears in flight is the final significant step in realizing the full potential of our optimum speed rotor technology, which enables game-changing capability for the warfighter,” said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. “It allows us to significantly expand the flight envelope at higher gross weights and at higher speeds, while maintaining the A160T’s world-record-setting endurance. We now have an unmanned air system with the performance of a fixed wing and the precision and versatility of a rotorcraft.”

Breaking the 100-flight-hour mark shows how much the A160T has matured since its first flight in June 2007. That first 12-minute flight set the stage for multiple endurance flights, including an 18.7-hour world record, flights carrying multiple payloads of up to 1,000 pounds, a hover-out-of-ground-effect flight at 20,000 feet, and flights with the FORESTER foliage-penetrating radar antenna. The A160T’s predecessor, the gasoline-powered A160, made its first flight in 2002 and accumulated 63 flight hours.

The gear-change flight took place on Nov. 25 and the 100-flight-hour mark was surpassed on Nov. 20. Boeing conducted each flight at the A160T test facility in Victorville, Calif. The company performed the tests under a $5 million bridge contract with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The A160T Hummingbird is 35 feet long with a 36-foot-diameter rotor and has reached speeds of up to 142 knots to date.

C-17 Aircrew Training System Goes Into Operation at Dover

December 13, 2008

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Boeing and the U.S. Air Force held a ceremony Dec. 5 to mark delivery of the new C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) to Dover Air Force Base (AFB), Del. The ATS began operation on Nov. 21 — more than four months ahead of schedule. It provides training to C-17 Globemaster III airlifter crews from Air Mobility Command and Air Force Reserve Command.

“In the past, aircrews at Dover had to travel to McGuire AFB [N.J.] and the Air National Guard base at Jackson [Miss.] to meet their training requirements,” said Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president for Training Systems and Services. “By delivering this capability to Dover, we are able to save the customer time, money and aircrew availability.”

“It’s great to just walk across the street to do the training. Finally, it feels like we are at a C-17 base,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jess Windsor, Evaluator Loadmaster, 326th Airlift Squadron.

Boeing has developed, operates and supports 10 U.S. C-17 ATS sites and expects to expand to three more within and outside the United States by 2010. With a tradition of successfully delivering C-17 aircrew training to the U.S. Air Force since 1992, Boeing has also become the C-17 training provider of choice for customers from the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

The key elements in the ATS are the Weapons Systems Trainer (WST) — a highly realistic, full-motion simulator used for pilot training — and the loadmaster station, which is a training device used by loadmaster students to perform preflight operations, operate aircraft systems and practice emergency procedures. The WST in Dover’s ATS is the 20th to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force.

Boeing’s C-17 training contract with the Air Force also includes an option for an additional WST to be delivered to Charleston AFB, S.C. If that option is exercised, it will be the fourth WST Boeing has delivered to Charleston.

“The Charleston WST will be the first Air Force trainer we deliver that has simulated avionics instead of physical aircraft avionics,” said Tracy Mead, C-17 ATS program manager for Boeing. “We plan to upgrade all of the existing WSTs with this technology, which means that we will be able to return the physical avionics to the C-17 aircraft program, allowing it to increase its spares inventory.”

The C-17 ATS provides instruction to more than 1,500 new pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster students each year while maintaining continuation training for more than 8,000 active, reserve and Air National Guard aircrew.

Boeing and Creative Technologies Train US Soldiers for War

December 13, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Boeing has announced a teaming arrangement with Creative Technologies Inc. (CTI) of Hollywood, Calif., to explore new training solutions for the military and law enforcement. The agreement brings together Boeing’s expertise in aviation training systems and CTI’s experience in game-based simulations for ground forces training.

“This agreement allows us to take what we do well and translate it into new possibilities for Boeing in the ground training and simulation arena,” said Mark McGraw, vice president for Training Systems and Services, a division of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Global Services and Support. “We are committed to finding new ways to use the talents of both companies to expand the services we’re able to offer the military.”

The agreement formalizes an ongoing relationship — CTI is a contributor to the Boeing Future Combat Systems program, and Boeing and CTI are partners in the U.S. Army’s Fires Center of Excellence integration effort at Fort Sill, Okla. The Army approached Boeing and CTI to offer guidance in developing an organization and a training strategy to consolidate the Army’s Air Defense Artillery School and Center, previously based at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the Field Artillery School and Center based at Fort Sill. The Boeing-CTI team is making recommendations for potential synergies and long-term training strategies while developing a technology plan to support current and future Fires Center of Excellence missions.

“We’re excited to combine Boeing’s industry leadership and broad range of capabilities with CTI’s know-how, relationships and agility,” said CTI President and CEO James Korris. “Simulation for ground forces and law enforcement is still, in many ways, in its infancy; we look forward to helping shape this evolving market. We’ve had a great run with Boeing. We’re thrilled to be their teammate.”

One possible area of growth is deployable field-artillery training for soldiers who are either in-theater or home between deployments. “These trainers would be designed to travel to a soldier’s home base or directly to the front lines to keep our warfighters current on their artillery skills,” said McGraw.

AirBorne Laser ABL Test Success

December 8, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully operated the Airborne Laser’s (ABL) complete weapon system for the first time in late November by projecting a beam from the Northrop Grumman Corporation-built  high-energy laser through the precision beam steering system.

 

During the ground test conducted by MDA and a Boeing-led industry team, a beam from the megawatt-class laser traveled the length of the aircraft at 670 million miles per hour, racing from the aft section that houses the laser, through the beam control / fire control (BC/FC) system, and out through the nose-mounted turret for the first time.

“The ground test proves that the ABL integrated weapon system works as planned,” said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for the Northrop Grumman Space Technology sector. “This impressive achievement validates the safe operation of the high-energy laser in conjunction with all other components of the revolutionary directed energy ABL aircraft.”

For the ground test, crews operating from onboard the aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., completed a planned engagement sequence by firing the high-energy laser through the entire system. The beam then exited the aircraft and was captured by the Range Simulator Diagnostic System, which provides simulated targets as well as a “dump” and diagnostics for the laser beam.

Northrop Grumman, under contract to The Boeing Company, the ABL prime contractor, designed and built the high-energy Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser, the most powerful laser ever developed for an airborne environment.

The BC/FC system, provided by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), not only ensures that the laser is accurately aligned and pointed at the target, but also performs fire control engagement sequencing, adjusts the beam for atmospheric compensation, and helps control jitter.

The ABL aircraft consists of a modified Boeing 747-400F whose back half holds the high-energy laser. Before being installed, the high-energy laser completed rigorous ground testing in a laboratory at Edwards AFB. The front half of the aircraft contains the battle management system, provided by Boeing, and the beam control/fire control system.

Boeing Airborne Laser Team Fires High-Energy Laser Through Beam Control System

December 2, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Boeing reports that it, together with industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, last week fired a high-energy laser through the Airborne Laser’s (ABL) beam control/fire control system, completing the first ground test of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the aircraft.

During the test at Edwards Air Force Base, the laser beam traveled through the beam control/fire control system before exiting the aircraft through the nose-mounted turret. The beam control/fire control system steered and focused the beam onto a simulated ballistic-missile target.

“This test is significant because it demonstrated that the Airborne Laser missile defense program has successfully integrated the entire weapon system aboard the ABL aircraft,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “With the achievement of the first firing of the laser aboard the aircraft in September, the team has now completed the two major milestones it hoped to accomplish in 2008, keeping ABL on track to conduct the missile shootdown demonstration planned for next year.”

Michael Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director, said the next step for the program is a series of longer-duration laser firings through the beam control/fire control system.

“Once we complete those tests, we will begin demonstrating the entire weapon system in flight,” Rinn said. “The team is meeting its commitment to deliver this transformational directed-energy weapon system in the near term.”

The program has logged many accomplishments over the past several years. In 2005, the high-energy laser demonstrated lethal levels of duration and power in the System Integration Laboratory at Edwards. In 2007, ABL completed numerous flight tests that demonstrated its ability to track an airborne target, measure and compensate for atmospheric conditions, and deliver a surrogate high-energy laser’s simulated lethal beam on the target. In September 2008, the team achieved “first light” by firing the high-energy laser into a calorimeter aboard the aircraft.

Boeing is the prime contractor for ABL, which will provide speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight.

The ABL aircraft is a modified Boeing 747-400F whose back half holds the high-energy laser, designed and built by Northrop Grumman. The front section of the aircraft contains the beam control/fire control system, developed by Lockheed Martin, and the battle management system, provided by Boeing.

KC-X Reversal Costs USAF Big Money

December 2, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

According to the Air Force Association’s Daily Report, the Air Force will pay Boeing $1.387 million in compensation for the legal costs that the company incurred in its successful protest of the service’s February choice of Northrop Grumman in the KC-X tanker contest. The Government Accountability Office found that the Air Force errors in judging Northrop’s KC-30 and Boeing’s KC-767 entries call for the service to reimburse Boeing for its legal costs. The Air Force reached “an agreement with Boeing” on the amount, a USAF spokeswoman told Daily Report. The KC-X program is in limbo, awaiting the new Administration, after the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s aborted attempt to reopen the competition to revised bids and determine the winner by around the end of the year.

Boeing Team Conducts Successful Test of Fuze for Heavy Bombs

October 24, 2008

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has successfully tested a fuze well (the area where the fuze is installed) and fuze for high-speed penetrator warheads along with its partners Applied Research Associates (ARA), L-3 KDI Precision Products and Ellwood National Forge Co. The companies tested their design this past summer in a bomb that penetrated reinforced concrete at supersonic speeds.

“This is a major development that will help address a problem the military has been working on for quite a while,” said Carl Avila, director of Advanced Weapons and Missile Systems for Boeing. “Hard and deeply buried targets have always been difficult to find and prosecute, but this new fuze design makes it possible because it stays intact as the bomb penetrates and detonates when and where it’s needed.”

The design is the result of data collected from a 2006 test at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, when Boeing propelled a 1,800-pound penetrator warhead at more than 2,300 feet per second through high-strength reinforced concrete. The data from that test led to the fuze well design and fuze hardening concept used in the July test, also at Holloman Air Force Base, when a Small Diameter Bomb fuze in an 1,800-pound warhead survived a supersonic impact into high-strength reinforced concrete and soil.

“The fuze survived a very difficult test,” said Steve Vukelich, director of Special Programs at Boeing. “This design concept can be incorporated into existing weapon fuzes and goes a long way toward correcting a major deficiency for the warfighter. It’s currently being considered for a number of advanced weapons.”

AH-6 light attack/reconnaissance helicopter

October 9, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Boeing on Oct. 7 announced a new rotorcraft program, the AH-6 light attack/reconnaissance helicopter.

Designed on a combat-proven platform with a heritage of successful service with U.S. Army Special Operations, the AH-6 is designed to meet the current requirements of international military customers while maintaining flexibility for future growth.

“Boeing has been approached by several potential customers seeking light attack and reconnaissance capabilities in a flexible rotorcraft platform,” Dave Palm, director of Boeing Rotorcraft Business Development, said today at the Association of the United States Army’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. “We believe this system is a perfect fit for those customers seeking long endurance, proven performance and 2,000-pound payload within an affordable helicopter.”

The AH-6 features an Electro-Optical/Infrared forward-looking sight system as well as a mount for weapons that have been qualified on the aircraft, including Hellfire missiles, the M260 seven-shot rocket pod, a machine gun and a mini-gun integrated with a sensor system. A communications package allows the AH-6 to connect to other aircraft and to ground stations.

Boeing will produce the AH-6 at its Rotorcraft Systems facility in Mesa, Ariz.

Boeing Tanker Overpriced, Says Young

September 23, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

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John Young, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, says that Boeing’s bid for the US Air Force’s new generation KC-X tanker aircraft was overpriced for the size of the aircraft. Rival Northrop Grumman’s bid was a full 3 billion Dollars lower. On top of that, Northrop was prepared to deliver the completed aircraft two years earlier than Boeing.

Read more on John Young’s interview.