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Aerospace & Defense News - Technology North America.

May 24, 2009

Devices to launch and control cyber, electronic and information attacks are being tested and refined by the U.S. military and industry in preparation for moving out of the laboratory and into the warfighter's backback. It's a part of a technology race that is already well underway. The Russian attack on Georgia last year showed weaknesses in some combat areas, but not in cyberwarfare, say U.S. analysts. The U.S. is looking for a tool to duplicate that kind of attack. Moreover, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded several contracts to information technology (IT) companies to design a cyberattack range. Candidate sites include Naval Air Warfare Center's China Lake, Calif., radar cross-section facility and the U.S. Air Force radar cross-section range at Holloman AFB, N.M. Several future attack devices are being built in a U.S. cyberwarfare attack laboratory. The one shown to Aviation Week & Space Technology is a software framework for locating digital weaknesses. It combines cybersleuthing, technology analysis and tracking of information flow. It then offers suggestions to the operator on how best to mount an attack and, finally, reports on success of the effort reported AWST. May 22, 2009

The US Air Force expects to soon incorporate into doctrine its 80-page unmanned air systems flight plan, now nearing the end of its development. Extending from this year until 2047 - the USAF's centenary year - the flight plan has themes of joint teaming, interoperability, interdependency, adaptability and sustainability. Its goals include teaming between the MQ-X next-generation UAS and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs and Lockheed F-22 Raptors for air-defence suppression. May 21, 2009

The US Army is considering shifting to turboprop aircraft for its next-generation aerial common sensor (ACS) fleet, potentially reversing a key focus of its acquisition strategy after a star-crossed, six-year pursuit of jets, according to industry sources. The potential change has been disclosed during the last three weeks in private notices and informal discussions to several potential ACS suppliers, according to multiple industry sources. May 20, 2009

Aegis Industries

Aegis Industries LLC, the emerging leader of professional security solutions, this week will preview its new type class of intermediate force option N the industryOs first Handheld Modular Multi-Stimulus Response Device (HMMRD) N at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) Grand Opening, Amman, Jordan, 19-21 May 2009, Booth #53-54. KASOTC is an invitation-only event co-sponsored by the United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The three-day event includes the grand opening of the KASOTC facility, his Majesty King Abdullah IIOs vision for a world-class special forces training center, as well as the First Annual Warrior Competition. Additionally, command leaders and unit competitors from special operations units from around the globe will view leading-edge technology innovations and discuss the latest tactics that support the counter terrorism war fighter. May 19, 2009

Boeing

Boeing said Thursday that its Dreamliner 787 was still on track for its first flight later this quarter, and the company stood by a previous full-year forecast. The company said deliveries of new planes, including the 787, set to begin next year would hurt margins even as they produce growth longer-term. The jetmaker told its investor meeting that it planned to keep revamping itself despite the pressures on its commercial and defense businesses. Chicago-based Boeing and rival Airbus are suffering as airlines and cargo operators defer plane deliveries amid weak demand in the economic recession. Boeing said its test flight program of the fuel-efficient 787 was on schedule to begin this quarter. The plane has been plagued by repeated production delays, and James Bell, the company's finance chief, also said on Thursday that there were "more requests for deferrals." Although the 787 and new 747-8 freighter will hurt margins initially, Bell said the two plane programs would generate "significant growth" in the longer term. May 22, 2009

Boeing

BoeingOs 737-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft has received its supplemental-type certification (STC) from FAA, marking the first time one of the companyOs larger battle management platforms has received this commercial approval rating. Approval also means pursuing international sales and deliveries will be considerably easier, and comes as Boeing awaits the outcome of an independent study into the aircraftOs Northrop Grumman-developed multirole electronically-scanned array (MESA) radar. Commissioned by the Australian government, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory study is evaluating the baseline architecture of the MESA surveillance system and its abilities. The report was prompted by a series of long-running delays to the program, which was launched with a development contract in 2000 by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for its Wedgetail AEW requirement. The first pair of six Wedgetail 737s are now slated for delivery in November, roughly three years later than originally planned. May 19, 2009

Boeing

Pentagon officials have not yet decided whether an upcoming KC-X competition between Boeing and a Northrop Grumman/Airbus EADS North America team to build new aerial refueling tankers will be managed by the U.S. Air Force or the Defense DepartmentOs acquisition chief, according to David Van Buren, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition. The competition was called off last year by Defense Secretary Robert Gates after threats from Boeing that it would not compete under the parameters set forth at the time. In February 2008, Northrop Grumman/EADS won a USD 1.5 billion contract to develop an Airbus A330-200-based tanker, but BoeingOs protest of the process turned up several missteps on the part of the Air Force in managing the duel. NorthropOs contract was dashed as a result. The Air ForceOs acquisition corps has fallen under scrutiny in part because of the tanker missteps, problems in managing the program to buy new combat-search-and-rescue helicopters and N years ago N an admission from former top procurement official Darleen Druyun that she unfairly steered contracts to Boeing prior to taking an executive position with the company. May 19, 2009

Boeing

Boeing released its 2009 Environment Report, highlighting reductions during 2008 in its energy and water consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and hazardous waste at its facilities, and efforts to pioneer environmentally progressive technologies, including the world's first demonstration flights powered in part by sustainable biofuels. Boeing is continuing to improve the environmental performance of its products through technology advancements, and targets improving the fuel efficiency of each new generation of commercial airplane by at least 15 percent compared to the airplanes they replace. May 19, 2009

Boeing

Boeing has achieved another significant milestone for the first 747-8 Freighter by completing assembly of the airplane's forward fuselage. The 89-foot, 2-inch (27.2 m) fuselage section, featuring the airplane's signature upper deck, was moved from the final assembly installation tool for sealing and testing before beginning systems installation. The 747-8 features a stretched fuselage compared to that of the 747-400. It is 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than its predecessor. Much of the stretch - 13 feet, 4 inches (4.1 m) - is located in the forward fuselage. The remaining additional 5 feet (1.5 m) are located aft of the wing. The 747-8 Freighter's stretched fuselage offers 16 percent more cargo volume than the 747-400 Freighter, providing space for four additional main-deck pallets and three additional pallets in the lower hold. The Boeing 747-8 Freighter and Intercontinental are the new, high-capacity 747s that offer the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger or freighter airplane, while providing enhanced environmental performance. May 19, 2009

Boeing

Boeing to build prototype pulsed-microwave robomissile. Intriguing news from the worlds of electropulse circuitry-zapper bombs and microwave raygun blasters, as US megacorp Boeing announces that it will build a "high power microwave (HPM) airborne demonstrator". According to Boeing, the company's "Phantom Works" advanced projects facility will develop a special prototype aircraft to carry microwave energy weapon tech developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). This will be a tech demonstrator effort for AFRL's Counter-electronics High power microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). May 18, 2009

Boeing

The Boeing hypersonic X-51A WaveRider has completed its first technical review in a process that will lead to a first flight of almost Mach 6.0 in the fourth quarter of this year, program officials say. "We're on our way," says Charles Brink, X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Including the AFRL, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, the X-51A consortium has already submitted the flight-test plan to the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards AFB, California. Brink says a "successful" meeting was held with the centre's experts on 12 May, with this resulting in follow-up actions. May 18, 2009

Boeing, Rolls-Royce

Boeing has begun engine test runs on the 787, with engine start on ZA001 occurring shortly after 9:30 a.m. local time today. The aircraft is expected to undertake hydraulic system ground tests tomorrow as the run up to the final stages of 'gauntlet' ground tests, and as taxi tests continue. Meanwhile, systems 'power-on' is edging closer for the third test aircraft, ZA003, while ZA002 is entering its factory gauntlet test phase, the company said. The auxiliary power unit has also been installed in ZA004, while preliminary flight crew rehearsals are underway for the first two General Electric-powered aircraft, ZA005 and ZA006. The Trent 1000s on ZA001 are configured to an interim standard for the start of flight tests, and will be superseded by an improved build standard -4A version on the later test aircraft, ZA004. The first engine for this upgrade effort, which is mainly based on a revised low-pressure turbine design, is due to run this month at Rolls-Royce's Derby plant in the U.K. May 22, 2009

Boeing, Rolls-Royce

Boeing said it completed the first engine runs on the Trent 1000s powering the first 787 yesterday. Engines ran for 40 min. According to the company, "the occasion marks the first all-electric start of a commercial jetliner engine on a commercial jetliner." Engines already had been started electronically in test facilities, it noted. Engine runs began with the Hamilton Sundstrand APS-5000 APU providing power to start them. May 22, 2009

Cessna

Cessna has mated the wing and fuselage of the third Citation CJ4 production conforming aircraft - the first of the six-seat light jet types to be assembled with production tooling on the new assembly line. Three aircraft, a prototype and serial numbers 001 and 002, have clocked up more than 800h of flight-testing to date and the USD 8.4 million aircraft is earmarked for certification later this year and service entry in early 2010. May 21, 2009

Lockheed Martin

Early indications from the Pentagon's Mobility Capabilities Requirements Study suggest no need for additional strategic airlift beyond the funded procurements of re-engined C-5s and 205 C-17s already planned, says U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. The 2005 Mobility Capabilities Study had suggested a requirement of roughly 300 strategic airlifters, and Schwartz says he sees "'no major shift in the demand signal." The 2005 study, however, was discredited in much of Washington as a budget-driven formality under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and a new study has been eagerly awaited. The new study is now under way, although official results are not expected until the fall. Unlike previous reviews, this study will take into account the requirements associated with increases in Army and Marine Corps end-strength, as well as the new U.S. Africa Command. Even if more strategic airlift is ultimately needed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley says an independent study presents several options before considering a buy of additional C-17s, the only aircraft made at Boeing's Long Beach, Calif., plant. These include leasing additional Civil Reserve Air Fleet capacity, as well as re-engining all 111 C-5s. Now, the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) calls for modifying only 49 C-5Bs, two C-5Cs and one A model for test purposes. Boeing''USDs C-17 program has survived in recent years on congressional earmarks and international orders. The USAF also has nonetheless wished to retire its worst C-5s. May 18, 2009

Pratt & Whitney

Russian Helicopters' Mi-38 medium-lift utility helicopter is likely to be delayed for at least two years, due to a switch to locally made TV-7-117 engines from the originally intended Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127. "The Mi-38 will be ready slightly later than they wished, in approximately two years. I think we will start selling it in 2012," Oboronprom director Andrei Rus said on 14 May. Russian Helicopters general director Andrei Shibitov, in a television interview with Russia Today, said the company blames political pressure from the USA for the stalling of a deal with P&WC to make the PW127 in Russia under licence. May 21, 2009

Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney plans to choose the material for use in fan blades featured in its geared turbofan this year as the manufacturer readies for core testing in the same time period. P&W vice president of marketing for commercial engines Mary Ellen Jones says the company had narrowed the materials to an advanced metal or composite. The advanced metal design is a P&W-patented technology. May 20, 2009

Pratt & Whitney

The Pratt & Whitney F135 short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant propulsion system, which includes the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem, has exceeded thrust performance expectations in recently completed tests, providing more vertical power than required by the F-35 Lightning II STOVL aircraft. The testing was conducted on a specially instrumented "hover pit" at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company. May 18, 2009

Pratt & Whitney, Boeing, Bombardier

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) has not found any thrust limitations to its geared turbofan engine architecture, and believes its design is capable of powering the next generation of widebody aircraft, including Boeing's replacement for the 777 if such an aircraft is pursued. The manufacturer's PW1000G has already been selected by Bombardier to power the 110/130-seat CSeries and by Mitsubishi to power the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). The CSeries will be powered with the 20,000lb-24,000lb thrust class PW1000G, designated the PW1500G, while the MRJ will be powered with the PW1200G, which offers thrust between 13,000lb and 17,000lb. May 20, 2009

Rockwell Collins

A software bug resident in a wide range of multi-mode GPS receivers (MMR) built by Rockwell Collins could cause datalink and other problems during the chronological transition from 20 to 21 June, cautions the European Aviation Safety Agency. In a safety information bulletin (SIB) published 20 May, the regulator "strongly" recommended that operators with the units, which fly on practically all Boeing and Airbus models as well the Bombardier CRJ series, develop mitigation plans to deal with the potential problems, which were brought to EASA's attention by Rockwell Collins. May 21, 2009

SunLight Eagle

Aurora Flight Sciences' unmanned aircraft SunLight Eagle flew on 12 May. The solar-powered, 34.7m (114ft) wingspan, 75kg (165lb) UAV became airborne at New Mexico State University's Physical Science Laboratory Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center at Las Cruces airport. Its first test objective was the collection of data on its aerodynamic performance and the solar cells. The next step for SunLight Eagle is to fly longer at higher altitudes. This will require an improved control system and the addition of a parachute. The next flight could be in August. May 22, 2009

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Date:May 25, 2009
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