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Aerospace & Defense News - Defense North America.

May 17, 2009

Boeing

Boeing has outlined plans to integrate and test the power upgrades at the heart of the Block III upgrade programme for the US Army AH-64DEApache Longbow. Manned-unmanned teaming and avionics improvements have been the focus over the past year of flight tests for the Block III system, the first major Apache fleet upgrade since the Longbow version was introduced about 20 years ago. But the Block III programme is also aimed at improving the engine's thrust by 20 percent. The new General Electric 701D will increase its thrust rating from 2,830shp (2,100kW) to 3,400shp. May 14, 2009

Boeing

Boeing plans to bolster support for the hard-pressed 747-based Airborne Laser missile defense program by quickly following an upcoming first full-scale missile shoot-down demonstration with laser interceptions of everything from short-range tactical weapons to intercontinental ballistic missiles. ABL is equipped with a powerful megawatt-class chemical laser designed to defend against hostile ballistic attack. The program began weapon system flight tests in April and was approaching a key missile shootdown exercise when future funding was drastically cut under the Fiscal 2010 budget led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. These will see the demonstrator relegated to a research-and-development role, while funding for a second ABL, "Tail Two," has been cancelled. Boeing believes the shoot-down demos, which will begin with kills of successive short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM), will revive wider military support and alert decision-makers to what Rinn says is a "real and growing threat." Restoring funding would also help head-off a looming industrial base issue that Boeing says faces the specialist technology companies supporting the ABL and its sophisticated chemical oxygen-iodine laser system. "We are worried about these guys being around, and being available should the nation decide we should go into production," says Rinn. When Gates unveiled his broad budget outline April 6, he said it was "highly questionable" that the 747-mounted chemical laser will be able to execute its mission of destroying boosting ICBMs. Still, he and Marine Corps James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the time that while the Quadrennial Defense review would help solve some policy questions, they wanted to maintain the R&D pursuit reported AWST. May 13, 2009

Boeing

BBJ Convertible is now available. Boeing announced today, at the EBACE show in Geneva, that the BBJ Convertible is now available to prospective customers. The airplane reconfigures from all-passenger to all-cargo configuration in less than eight hours. Governments, corporations and private individuals can quickly change from transporting VIPs, staff or troops to delivering disaster-relief supplies or configuring for medical evacuation. There is room for transporting tools, parts and machinery; race cars or race horses; or equipment for touring bands and musicians. May 11, 2009

Boeing, General Electric

Boeing is seeking an international launch customer for a 20 percent higher thrust version of the General Electric F414 turbofan that powers the F/A-18E/FESuper Hornet. The F414 enhanced performance engine (EPE) includes an all new core and forward fan to dramatically increase the fighter's takeoff performance, said Bob Gower, Boeing vice president for F/A-18E/F. The improvements would increase the F414 thrust rating from 22,000lbs to 26,600lbs. The baseline F414-GE-400, which also powers the Saab Gripen demonstration aircraft, is itself a 35 percent higher thrust version of the F404 and entered service with the Super Hornet fleet in 1998. May 12, 2009

Lockheed Martin

The Israeli air force will soon begin a series upgrade to its Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters, with the "Barak 2020" programme aimed at equipping the legacy aircraft with almost the same level of avionics equipment as used by its latest F-16Is. The aim of the project is to enable the F-16C/D fleet to serve until at least 2020. Israel's modernisation effort comes after a long test period, during which an upgraded avionics suite has been test flown using one F-16D operated to the limit of its flight envelope. The air force says the upgrade will boost interoperability with its fleet of 101 F-16Is, and facilitate the integration of new weapon systems with its operational fleet of approximately 124 C/D-model aircraft. May 12, 2009

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin significantly increased the amount of money it spent lobbying Congress and the Pentagon during the first quarter as it fought to stave off proposed cuts to some of its major weapons programs. In a lobbying report filed with the House and Senate, Lockheed said it spent USD 6.35 million on lobbying during the three months that ended March 31. During the 2008 first quarter, the Bethesda, Md.-based defense contractor paid USD 3.78 million for lobbying work. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' 2010 fiscal year budget proposal would slash funding for some big Lockheed contracts. For example, production would end of the F-22 fighter jet and a Lockheed contract to build a new fleet of helicopters for the president, known as the VH-71 helicopter, would be canceled. But Lockheed would also see some gains under the budget, which must be approved by Congress. The Pentagon would speed up purchase of the Littoral Combat warship that can sail in shallow waters, a program Lockheed splits with General Dynamics Corp. May 12, 2009

Missile Defense Agency

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is concerned about the Obama administration's plans to cut Missile Defense Agency spending by $1.4 billion, but he doesn't see trimming the planned increase in Army and Marine Corps end strength as a tradeoff. Sessions complained about planned cuts in missile defense at a National Defense University Foundation gathering on Capitol Hill. He noted that Defense Secretary Robert Gates was ending the Multiple Kill Vehicle program and drastically cutting the Airborne Laser program, while focusing on theater missile defense programs such as the Aegis shipborne system and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. That won't be enough to protect the U.S. from long-range ballistic missile strikes, Sessions said. May 11, 2009

U.S. Air Force

A last-minute anomaly with the flight termination system forced controllers to scrub another attempt to launch the U.S. Air Force TacSat-3 test bed on a Minotaur 1 rocket, delaying the mission until May 19 at the earliest. The launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, which had been scrubbed twice last week for bad weather at the launch site on Virginia's Eastern Shore, was halted at 10:43 p.m. EDT May 8, about two minutes before the scheduled liftoff. Controllers ordered a hold when they realized the system that would destroy the rocket in flight if it veered off course wasn't working properly. Mission managers said the launch would be delayed at least 10 days, with a new date to be set this week. The $60 million satellite carries a trio of experimental payloads - as well as two piggyback satellites. Mounted on TacSat-3 itself are an experimental target identification and battle damage assessment sensor; a sea-buoy data-retrieval experiment, and a plug-and-play avionics package that needs flight validation. Flying piggyback on the solid-fuel Minotaur 1 are NASA's PharmaSat microsatellite and CubeSat Technology Demonstration. May 13, 2009

ZZ AirGuideBusiness 090518

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Publication:AirGuide Business
Date:May 18, 2009
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