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Aerospace & Defense News - Technology North America.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Aerospace & Defense News - Technology North America) Jul 10, 2011

U.S. Navy tests aircraft using UCAS-D software The U.S. Navy landed a Boeing F/A-18D using unmanned combat air system demonstration software which is due on aircraft carriers in 2013. The testing ensures the software and aircraft can handle different flight situations, according to Glenn Colby, aviation/ship integration lead for the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command. Jul 6, 2011

Aeroflex Holding Aeroflex Updates Financial Targets for the Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2011. Aeroflex Holding, a leading global provider of microelectronic components and test and measurement equipment, today announced revised financial targets for its fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, 2011. Delays in shipment approvals from and orders of test equipment by U.S. government entities have caused Aeroflex to reduce its estimated ranges of net sales and Adjusted EBITDA to $198 million to $200 million and $56 million to $59 million, respectively. At this time, Aeroflex is unable to give revised guidance on non-GAAP net income per share. A majority of the reduction in net sales is attributable to a $16 million Ground Radio Maintenance Automatic Test System (OGRMATSO) shipment that has passed First Article Test (OFATO), but still awaiting final approval to ship from the U.S. Marine Corps. In addition, delays in receiving final paperwork on fully funded, sole source orders from branches of the U.S. military have contributed to the negative impact on net sales. The reduced fourth quarter range of Adjusted EBITDA is due to the reduction in gross profit from products that did not ship. Since quarterly operating costs are relatively fixed, the gross profit shortfall will have a negative impact on operating margin in the fourth quarter. Aeroflex will provide a review of the quarter when it announces its results for the fiscal fourth quarter and for the full fiscal year 2011 on August 18, 2011. AeroflexOs annual budget process for fiscal 2012 is currently in progress. Aeroflex will also give financial guidance for fiscal 2012 with the release of its earnings. Jul 7, 2011

ASTM International Committee on Petroleum Products and Lubricants BioJet to release 1 billion gallons of jet fuel. On the heels of the recent ASTM International Committee on Petroleum Products and Lubricants' approval of bio-derived jet fuel for commercial use, Santa Barbara-based BioJet International announced it will release one billion gallons of renewable jet fuel priced at $2.97 a gallon to airlines to "aid in the development" of biofuel in the commercial aviation market. Under new provisions included in ATSM standard D7566, up to 50% bio-derived synthetic blending components can be added to conventional commercial and military jet or gas turbine fuel. D7566 also includes new, specific requirements for the bio-derived synthetic fuel component such as thermal stability, distillation control and trace material amounts. The specification was provisionally approved in June and received full approval July 1. BioJet in February received a $1.2 billion funding facility from Equity Partners Fund, a sum it calls "the cornerstone" of a $6 billion, 10-year supply chain capital projects program, which will include feedstock, refining projects, investment and strategic acquisitions. Jul 8, 2011

Boeing Air Force to launch another GPS satellite. The Air Force will launch the second Boeing GPS IIF satellite via two solid-rocket motor strap-on boosters on July 14. The satellite will travel 11,000 miles before entering a circular orbit, said Jim Sponnick, vice president of mission operations at United Launch Alliance. Jul 8, 2011

Boeing, All Nippon Airways Boeing's Dreamliner begins test runs after 3-year delay. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, the world's first jet with a fuselage and wings made of composite plastic, is being tested on All Nippon Airways' domestic routes in Japan to ensure that the plane is ready for commercial use. Boeing is testing the plane three years after its original May 2008 delivery date. "It's been a long wait," said Hidetaka Sakai, an ANA spokesman. "We want to compete with global air companies with this plane." Jul 5, 2011

Boeing, All Nippon Airways Boeing and ANA Begin 787 Service Readiness. Validation in Japan. Boeing and ANA today began an important validation of their readiness for the 787 Dreamliner's entry into service. Throughout the coming days, ANA pilots, together with Boeing, will fly a 787 on actual airline routes in Japan using airline dispatch and flight rules. ANA's mechanics and ground crews also will gain experience with the airplane in a simulated operational environment. The 787 debuted in Asia yesterday with a landing at Haneda Airport in Tokyo at 6:21 a.m. (local time). More than a thousand media, ANA employees and aviation enthusiasts gathered to witness the 787's arrival and welcome ANA pilots Captains Masayuki Ishii and Masami Tsukamoto and Boeing pilots Captains Mike Carriker, Heather Ross and Ted Grady. Sporting ANA's livery, the 787 flight test airplane ZA002 flew non-stop to Tokyo from Seattle. Throughout the week-long validation, the 787 will experience simulated day-to-day airline operations. Maintenance, servicing and flight crew operations will be conducted at five airports in Tokyo, Osaka (Itami and Kansai), Okayama and Hiroshima. ANA's first scheduled service with the 787 will be either the Haneda-Okayama or Haneda-Hiroshima route when deliveries begin later this year. ANA has 55 Dreamliners on order. ANA will deploy the 787 across its route network as an integral part of its strategy to strengthen its position and support its growth and expansion plans. Boeing plans to deliver the first 787 to ANA in the August to September timeframe. Jul 4, 2011

Boeing, Nippon Airways 787 validation flights underway in Japan. Boeing and All Nippon Airways this week are conducting 787 service readiness flights in Japan. "ANA pilots, together with Boeing, will fly a 787 on actual airline routes in Japan using airline dispatch and flight rules," the manufacturer stated. "ANA's mechanics and ground crews also will gain experience with the airplane in a simulated operational environment." ANA President and CEO Shinichiro Ito added, "Validating all of our training and preparations for the Dreamliner is critical to help ensure a smoother entry into service for our passengers and crews later this year." Flight test aircraft ZA002, featuring ANA livery, landed at Tokyo Haneda Monday following a direct flight from Seattle. The validation flights are expected to be conducted for a week. Maintenance, servicing and flight crew operations will be tested at HND, Osaka Itami, Osaka Kansai, Okayama and Hiroshima. "ANA's first scheduled service with the 787 will be either the Haneda-Okayama or Haneda-Hiroshima route when deliveries begin later this year," according to Boeing. ANA has 55 787s on order. First delivery is expected in August or September. Jul 6, 2011

Lockheed Martin Defense contractors are looking to enter "smart" microgrid market. High-tech defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing are targeting the "smart" microgrid market. The microgrids can combine renewable energy with a conventional electricity system to meet consumer demand -- and reduce energy consumption at the same time. The move to smart microgrids would also increase protection against utility hackers, according to Lockheed. Jul 6, 2011

Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin Delivers First VNsight Sensor to the U.S. Army. Lockheed Martin recently delivered the first VNsight production unit for the U.S. Army's Apache Attack Helicopter, which adds a low-light-level display capability to the AH-64D Apache's combat-proven Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), or Arrowhead[umlaut], system. E The VNsight visible/near infrared sensor provides the warfighter with significant tactical advantages and increased situational awareness, particularly in low-light-level conditions. EThe VNsight sensor is integrated into the Modernized PNVS, the pilotage system for the Apache. E By blending VNsight imagery with the M-PNVS FLIR imagery, pilots can accurately see and identify cultural and military lighting, including lasers, markers, beacons and tracer rounds. EThis ensures safer flying conditions and enhanced mission capability by improving situational awareness in low-light-level conditions and situations where existing light sources cannot be imaged by the FLIR. E The VNsight Lot 1 production contract includes sensors and spares to equip two U.S. Apache battalions and an international customer. EDelivering the first unit on schedule establishes the start of a production line capable of producing eight VNsight units per month. EWith production options for up to ten U.S. Army battalions spanning into 2015, the VNsight production line will continue to provide a valuable asset to AH-64D pilots. E Jul 6, 2011

NASA NASA spending cuts would eliminate Webb space telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope, viewed by experts as a major advancement for U.S. space missions, could be on the chopping block after the House Appropriations subcommittee unveiled a plan to cut NASA spending by 9%. The bill seeks to trim $1.6 billion from NASA's budget, and would also slow the agency's entrance into the commercial space taxi program. Jul 7, 2011

NASA NASA sets sights on commercial space taxis. Boeing, Space Exploration Technologies and Sierra Nevada Corp. are developing commercial space taxis to replace the U.S. space shuttle program. The commercial options offer a practical solution for NASA, which otherwise would have to rely on Russian craft at a cost of $50 million per seat. Jul 6, 2011

NASA NASA pledges to continue space exploration. NASA pledged that the U.S. would remain a leader in space exploration, despite the Obama administration putting an end to the 30-year-old shuttle program. NASA administrator Charles Bolden said the agency's goals include putting a man on Mars and exploring deep space. "American leadership in space will continue for at least the next half-century because we've laid the foundation for success," Bolden said. "When I hear people say... the final shuttle flight marks the end of U.S. human space flight, you all must be living on another planet." Jul 5, 2011

NASA NASA's commercial rocket program will face cost-control challenges. NASA will face significant challenges in keeping costs under control as it develops its commercial space program, according to a 52-page report by the agency's inspector general. Inspector General Paul Martin cautioned that verifying the safety of private rocket companies and creating a financial strategy for rocket development could be a struggle as the agency ventures into the commercial rocket market. Jul 5, 2011

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration The first flying car is now street legal. Why not fly over your next traffic jam? Federal highway officials have approved for road travel a prototype vehicle that drives like a car and flies like an airplane. The hybrid hotrod, which was conceived and built by Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, got the green light on June 30 for a series of special exemptions from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dubbed the Transition Roadable Aircraft, the airborne auto will retail for $250,000 when it heads to market late next year. Jul 7, 2011

Northrop Grumman Northrop Grumman's Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System Completes 2,000 Tactical Missions. The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system, developed by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Air Force, completed its 2,000th mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on June 25. BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications gateway system flying on five separate aircraft to maintain operational support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The persistent connectivity BACN provides improves situational awareness and enables better coordination between forward-edge warfighters and commanders. Since the system was deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2008, BACN has accumulated more than 20,000 operational flight hours in 2,000 missions and delivered a mission availability rate of 98 percent. Using a suite of computers and radio systems, BACN connects disparate voice and datalink networks, 'bridges' between radio frequencies, and extends communications ranges to enhance tactical situational awareness information throughout the battlespace. Northrop Grumman and teammate Orion Air Group provide 24/7 operations and support of the BACN system. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system. The company was awarded the first BACN contract in April 2005 by the Air Force Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., where the development testing, and demonstration activity was conducted on a NASA high- altitude aircraft prior to going operational. Jul 6, 2011

Northrop Grumman U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman Successfully Test Systems Required to Operate X-47B Unmanned System From an Aircraft Carrier. The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman have successfully completed a demonstration of the ship-based software and systems that will allow the X-47B unmanned air vehicle to operate from the deck of an aircraft carrier. The test, conducted July 2 in the western Atlantic with the Navy carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69), culminated with several successful launches and recoveries of a manned surrogate aircraft equipped with X-47B precision navigation control software. Strong collaboration between the engineers of U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Northrop Grumman was key to the successful test, he added. Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. A Navy/Northrop Grumman test team conducted first flight of the X-47B in February. According to Glenn Colby, NAVAIR's aviation/ship integration lead, the biggest challenge associated with landing an unmanned system on a carrier deck is automating -- and removing any ambiguity from -- flight procedures and communications between aircraft and ship that have traditionally been performed manually by pilots and the ship's air operations personnel. Colby and his team at NAVAIR's N-UCAS Aviation/Ship Integration Facility (NASIF) at Patuxent River, prepared for the surrogate testing through a steady build-up of rigorous software simulations and flight tests. First, they used early versions of the software that the X-47B will use to operate at the carrier to simulate command and control, air traffic control and navigation exchanges between the aircraft and the carrier. Then they progressed to more robust simulations that included X-47B avionics and an X-47B mission operator station, all in the NASIF lab. Next were flight tests of X-47B hardware and software installed on a King Air Beech 300 aircraft. The King Air flew in the vicinity of CVN-69 -- both pier-side in Norfolk, Va., and while underway -- to test mission management, command and control, communications, air traffic control and navigation functions between the X-47B software and the ship. In addition to the King Air, the test team used a surrogate F/A-18 aircraft equipped with X-47B software and avionics to evaluate the most challenging areas of launch and recovery operations. Initial testing at Patuxent River focused on verifying that aircraft sensors, navigation, guidance and control systems were ready for shipboard testing. "Using a manned surrogate platform to test the unmanned systems avionics and software gives us an extra layer of safety as we test the X-47B software to ensure that it responds correctly and safely to different flight conditions," explained Colby. Results from the surrogate testing will be used to continue to refine the mission management, navigation, guidance and control software that the X-47B will use to perform its first carrier landings in 2013. The Navy awarded the UCAS-D prime contract to Northrop Grumman in August 2007. The contract calls for the development and flight testing of two strike-fighter-sized X-47B unmanned aircraft. In 2013, the program is scheduled to demonstrate the first carrier launches and recoveries by a tailless, unmanned aircraft. Autonomous aerial refueling demonstrations are planned for 2014. For the latest X-47B news and information, please visit www.as.northropgrumman.com/products/nucasx47b/. Jul 5, 2011

Rockwell Collins, Elbit Systems VSI's Night Vision Cueing and Display (NVCD) Makes First Operational Flight. Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI), a leader in advanced Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) technology, recently supported successful operational flights of its Night Vision Cueing and Display / Aviator's Night Vision Imaging System (NVCD/ ANVIS). E The first operational flight of the NVCD/ ANVIS was conducted by the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) as part of Operation Unified Protector, in Libya, where the RDAF are participating in the enforcement of the No Fly Zone. "We are very proud of the RDAF decision to fly with our system under operational environment," said Drew Brugal, VSI President. E The JHMCS provides the pilot with "first look, first shot" high off-boresight weapons engagement capabilities. The system enables the pilot to accurately cue onboard weapons and sensors against enemy aircraft and ground targets without the need to aggressively turn the aircraft or place the target in the Head Up Display (HUD) field-of-view for designation. Critical information and symbology, such as targeting cues and aircraft performance parameters, are graphically displayed directly on the pilot's visor. E The NVCD/ ANVIS is based on a standard pair of ANVIS-F4949 Night Vision Goggles (NVGs), modified with a VSI kit, providing the pilot with a full JHMCS symbols and cueing capability during night NVGs operation. E The flights conducted were in an RDAF F-16 MLU M5 configuration with no modifications required to the aircraft. NVCD/ANVIS go to www.vsi-hmcs.com . Jul 5, 2011

Sierra Nevada, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, ATK Aerospace Systems Space contractors flock to last shuttle launch. Space contractors such as Sierra Nevada, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and ATK Aerospace Systems have assembled at Kennedy Space Center to showcase their new programs at the final shuttle launch. The contractors set up at the Joint Industry Press Center, where journalists came to see what was on the horizon for the space industry. "This is much larger than the largest trade shows," said Lon Rains, deputy chairman of the Coalition for Space Exploration. "People come here to do business, see their customers and talk about the future." Jul 8, 2011

Stratus Properties The Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Israel and Strauss Water of the Strauss Group, Will Launch Today a Bio-Medical Experiment to Space on the Last Board NASA's Space Shuttle, Atlantis. The Israeli research team, headed by Dr. Eran Schenker from the Fisher Institute, in collaboration with Haim Wilder, V.P. R&D of Strauss Water and Prof. Eyal Shimoni, Chief Scientist of Strauss Group, will test a new water purification technology under zero gravity in space. Developed by Strauss Water, this is a polymer-based bio-medical technology designed to purify drinking water by effectively removing bacteria and viruses. The data accumulated from the research in space will also have implications for purifying water on earth, as it has direct bearing on the field of drinking water purification in its broader context. This experiment may be of important for the space industry as well, which is looking to improve the quality of water provided to astronauts on long missions. The Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies was founded by the Israel Air Force Association with an aim to develop aviation and aerospace thinking and public discourse in Israel . The Institute's activities include research and publication of articles and position papers. The institute is primarily known for its annual international space conference held in memory of Ilan Ramon and his team, which is conducted under the auspices of the Institute, Ministry of Science, and Israel's Space Agency. The Fisher Institute is chaired by Major-General (Ret.) Herzle Bodinger and headed by Brigadier-General (Res.)EAsaf Agmon. The Aerospace Medicine Research Center at The Fisher Institute fosters ties with space agencies around the world and corresponding research institutes. Institute people collaborate with leading researchers in academic institutions nationwide. The Aerospace Medicine Research Center is headed by Dr. Eran Schenker, an aviation physician trained by NASA as an aerospace physician. Since the Nineties he has served as chief researcher of Israel's medical and biological experiments on NASA's space shuttles. Jeffrey Manberis regarded as one of the pioneering commercial space project entrepreneurs for more than 20 years. He brought together, connected and pioneered the joint activity of the American and Russian space industries, was the first to develop space tourism on the Soviet space station Mir, and provided aerospace consulting to U.S. Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Obama. Currently, he is the Managing Director for NanoRacks, a group promoting international civil, commercial and private space activity. Strauss Water is a global company that provides advanced drinking water solutions to customers in various parts of the world. The company engages in the development, production and marketing of drinking water purification, filtering, heating and cooling systems. Strauss Water started fulfilling its global vision with the launch of its company product in Britain in 2010 and the launch of the WaterMaker product line in China in collaboration with Haier in 2011. Strauss Group, Israel's second-largest food & beverage company, traded on the Tel Aviv 25 Index. Strauss Group is an international corporation operating twenty-five production sites in twenty-one countries around the world. Identified the drinking water field as a strategic opportunity that coincides with the Group's Mission. Since 2007, the Group has invested in a water purification technology venture, completing the development of 10 pending patents in water purification and treatment. Jul 8, 2011

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