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Aerospace & Defense News - Defense North America.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Aerospace & Defense News - Defense North America) Oct 21, 2012

Boeing Boeing on plan to deliver 18 KC-46A (767-200ER) Tankers by 2017. Boeing this week begins assembling the first refueling boom for the U.S. Air Force's next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft in the KC-46 Boom Assembly Center that opened today at Boeing Field in Seattle. "We're pleased that this facility opened on schedule," said Maureen Dougherty, KC-46 vice president and program manager for Boeing. "The KC-46A will feature a modernized fly-by-wire boom based on the proven system on the U.S. Air Force's KC-10 tanker, which will give it advanced refueling capabilities, allowing it to refuel any fixed-wing receiver aircraft anytime and on any mission." Boom assembly marks the program's shift to production from design activities. "It's a big day for the KC-46 Tanker Program and the U.S. Air Force," said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, U.S. Air Force Tanker Program Executive Officer and KC-46 Program Director. "Boeing continues to make good progress toward delivering the KC-46 Tanker on schedule." The first boom will enter testing during the third quarter of 2013 at a System Integration Lab (SIL), known as SIL 0. It is one of five labs designed to reduce risk for avionics and aerial refueling integration. Boeing invented the air refueling boom and has been building, upgrading and modifying them for more than 60 years. Boeing's KC-46 program remains on track to deliver 18 combat-ready tankers by 2017, and for the next major Air Force contract milestone, the Critical Design Review, scheduled for the summer of 2013. Production of the KC-46 aircraft begins next summer in Boeing's Everett, Wash., factory. The aircraft will be a 767-2C variant of the commercial 767-200ER airplane. Boeing will build 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft to begin replacing the Air Force's aging KC-135 tankers. Oct 17, 2012

Boeing Boeing starts building phase on KC-46 tanker. Boeing is beginning work on the refueling boom for the KC-46 (767-200ER) tanker, an aircraft slated for 2017 delivery. The work marks the first step in construction of the KC-46, considered a high priority for the Air Force. Boeing will begin putting together the first aerial refueling boom for the US Air Force's new KC-46 tanker at a new assembly center that opened on 16 October in Seattle, Washington. "We're pleased that this facility opened on schedule," says Maureen Dougherty, Boeing's KC-46 programme manager. The opening of the facility marks the transition of the new boom from the design phase and to the production phase, Boeing says. Oct 16, 2012

CAE CAE will supply the Kuwait air force with a full mission simulator to support operations with its future fleet of three Lockheed Martin KC-130J tankers. To enable Kuwait to perform in-country "initial, recurrent and mission training" tasks, the device will be delivered from CAE's site in Tampa, Florida, to Al Mubarak air base during 2015. The simulator will use CAE's Medallion-6000 image generator and be certificated to the European Aviation Safety Agency's Level D standard, the training system company says. Placed via the US Navy, the Gulf state's Foreign Military Sales programme order is worth $26 million, according to a US Department of Defense contract notice published last month. Work under the deal will conclude by June 2015, it said. Lockheed received a $245 million contract in May 2010 to produce three KC-130Js for Kuwait. The company at that time said aircraft deliveries would run between late 2013 and 2014. Oct 15, 2012

Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin is on track to deliver a total of 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to three nations during 2012, as company officials wait on the potential impact of a new round of domestic spending cuts threatened by Congress. "We're still on pace to deliver 30 airplanes this year, which was our goal from the beginning," says Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice-president F-35 programme integration and business development. This represents a more than doubling of the rate on the company's Fort Worth final assembly line in Texas from 13 in 2011, with a further increase to around 35 expected during 2013. Flight test activities are continuing to run ahead of schedule this year, with total F-35 flights over plan by 20% and test points by 15%. These figures increase to 40% and 20% respectively for the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B, deliveries of which will begin to US Marine Corps squadrons late this year. Oct 18, 2012

Northrop Grumman Northrop Grumman has joined forces with Elbit Systems to offer a new terrain-following/terrain-avoidance (TF/TA) system for use with Lockheed Martin's C-130 tactical transport. Already selected for integration with the Hercules as part of an ongoing avionics upgrade programme for an undisclosed operator, the system combines Northrop's APN-241 radar with Elbit head-up displays. Using a digital terrain elevation database and the terrain-following radar as an active sensor, it will enable pilots to fly and manoeuvre safely at low level in all weather conditions, by day or night. A demonstrator of the TF/TA HUD demonstrator is expected to fly within the coming year using an international customer's C-130. The APN-241 is the standard radar for Lockheed's new-generation C-130J and Alenia Aermacchi's C-27J Spartan, and has also been installed in the Airbus Military C295. Oct 15, 2012

Raytheon Raytheon and Israeli guided weapons specialist Rafael have signed a co-operation agreement to market the latterOs Sparrow series of targets to the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and other countries. According to US sources, the MDA plans to launch RafaelOs Blue Sparrow target from a converted Lockheed L-1011, to simulate a salvo of ballistic missile threats during a test of Raytheon SM-3 missiles from a US Navy Aegis-class destroyer. The modified airliner would be capable of launching up to four targets simultaneously. Equipped with GPS/INS navigation, the 1.8t Blue Sparrow has a post-boost phase three-axis attitude control system and mid-air pointing capability, which enables it to simulate the deployment of bulk chemical or high-explosive warheads by a ballistic missile. The USA will also evaluate the potential use of other Sparrow-series targets for future intercept tests, sources say. Oct 15, 2012

Sikorsky Aircraft Sikorsky has started building two prototype S-97 Raider high-speed compound helicopters for the US Army's prospective Armed Aerial Scout programme. The coaxial-rotor, pusher-prop machine is based on the company's revolutionary X-2 design which won the Collier Trophy in 2010. The S-97 is currently in its detailed design phase, but because Sikorsky is developing the aircraft as a prototype, the company has already started fabricating the new rotor-craft. "We're in detailed design right now," says Doug Shidler, Sikorsky's S-97 programme manager. "And because we're a rapid prototype programme, as we're going through detailed design, we're also building parts." Parts of the aircraft's fuselage are already being built as are other components throughout the airframe. In fact, some components have already been completed, Shidler says. The objective for the year is to complete the design. The aircraft should move into final assembly by the middle of next year, Shidler says. The aircraft should enter ground and flight testing in 2014. "Things are moving along as projected," he adds. Oct 19, 2012

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Date:Oct 22, 2012
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