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Aerospace & Defense News - Technology.

Jan 11, 2009

With military chiefs calling for lighter, nimbler armored vehicles, armor makers are constantly working on new technologies to meet the demand. But Damon Walsh, executive vice president of Force Protection, says his company is working on "not just passive armor systems to stop threats, but also more sophisticated active protection systems." In other words: "Don't just rely on armor, try and defeat the threat earlier before you get hit." Tony Russell, an executive with MRAP maker BAE, says his company, too, is looking for "ways to defeat and detect the threat before you even get to it." Jan 7, 2009

Airbus, EADS

Multifunctional load-bearing engine structures that absorb sound is a goal of research funded by EADS North America at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. After almost two years of research, Georgia Tech has produced a nickel-based alloy that has a honeycomb-like structure that dissipates sound waves as they travel through the porous material. Now, the institute and EADS are discussing possible follow-on work looking at cheaper alternatives to the nickel alloy. Jan 7, 2009

Boeing

The US Air Force yesterday took the first public step in the search for a replacement of the Boeing VC-25 Air Force One, the presidential aircraft fleet. The USAF posted a request for information for market sources that can provide three widebody aircraft to replace two, 19-year-old VC-25s, which are converted Boeing 747-200s jetliners with added safety, security, communication technologies, plus in-flight refueling. The twin aircraft in the presidential fleet cost around $400 million each in the 1980[sup.1]s. The most likely models to be chosen would be the latest Boeing 747 models such as the 747-800, the super long range 777 or 787. Jan 9, 2009

Boeing

Boeing has unveiled two options for the US Army[sup.1]s revived armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) order - a stretched version of the AH-6 Little Bird and a scout version of the AH-64 dubbed the [sup.3]Apache Light[sup.2]. Both concepts were outlined in Boeing[sup.1]s response to the US Army[sup.1]s request for information in November for potential ARH candidates, said Mike Burke, Boeing vice president for business development. Jan 7, 2009

Boeing

Boeing has confirmed India[sup.1]s decision to buy the P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, the largest deal for a weapon system so far between the two strategic partners. [sup.3]We are pleased that the government of India has selected the P-8I, making India the first international customer for the P-8,[sup.2] says Vivek Lall, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems vice president and India country head. Jan 6, 2009

Continental Airlines, New York

Continental Airlines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the US Federal Aviation Administration are to invest more than $6 million for a ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) satellite navigation technology demonstration. The demonstration will take place at Newark Liberty International airport from August. Continental, the largest carrier at the airport, is spending $1.1 million for Boeing to outfit 15 aircraft with GBAS equipment and to train pilots to use it. The demonstration is costing the FAA $2.5 million and the port authority is investing $2.5 million with Honeywell Aerospace for the ground equipment. Honeywell is the only FAA-certificated GBAS provider. Jan 10, 2009

Emirates Airlines

Emirates has saved about 10 million liters of fuel and 772 hr. of flight time in the five years since it started working with Airservices Australia to pioneer Flex Tracks. The program involves the use of sophisticated ground and cockpit technology to track live weather and helps pilots chase tailwinds and favorable conditions. It was developed by ASA in December 2003. The fuel burn reduction has resulted in substantial cuts to emissions, with a total reduction of 26,644 tonnes of CO2 and 163 tonnes of NOx. "Since its launch in 2003, Emirates has progressively expanded the operation of Flex Tracks to all its Australian services and is a major pillar of the airline's efforts to drive eco-efficiencies throughout its global network," EK President Tim Clark said. Jan 7, 2009

ESA

The idea of a space elevator, long envisioned as a cheaper alternative for lifting payloads into space, got a lift of its own last month when Age-Raymond Riise of the European Space Agency demonstrated a mechanical means for powering the "climber" that would ascend the 62,000-mile tether. This BBC report includes video of Riise's demonstration using a broomstick and electric sander. Jan 6, 2009

Korea Aerospace Industries

South Korea has asked Korea Aerospace Industries to develop a prototype of a light attack version of its T-50 advanced jet trainer, with a production contract likely to be awarded after the aircraft has been tested by the nation's air force. Jan 7, 2009

Macquarie Capital

Analysts from Macquarie Capital see steady defense spending in the near term, though pension costs could pose a bigger-than-expected problem for the industry, and high-profile programs like Future Combat Systems and missile defense could eventually see cuts. Core defense spending should continue to see annual growth of 4% to 5%, according to Macquarie, while supplemental spending should drop along with troop levels in the Middle East. Pensions, meanwhile, are a growing concern because of the falling discount rate. "It is perhaps a bizarre situation, but it looks likely to us that pensions, rather than defense policy, is actually going to be a bigger negative for defense stocks as we move through 2009," says a Macquarie official. Jan 7, 2009

NASA

Spirit and Opportunity, the two rovers now marking their fifth anniversary on Mars, originally were expected to last just three months. After covering more than 13 miles of terrain and transmitting a quarter-million images back to Earth, the two rovers represent "an extraordinary return of investment in these challenging budgetary times," according to NASA. Jan 6, 2009

NH Industries

The French army has increased its production order for NH Industries NH90 tactical transport helicopters (TTH) to 34, following the award of a 22-unit follow-on order late last month. France in November 2007 signed an initial order for 12 NH90 TTHs via the NATO Helicopter Management Agency, with its army requirement then including options on a further 56 aircraft. Jan 8, 2009

Northrop Grumman

The demonstration team behind Northrop Grumman Corp.'s unmanned aerial vehicle has been honored by the Navy as test team of the quarter. "The Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration test team has laid the operational, tactical and doctrinal foundation for future unmanned maritime surveillance systems," the Navy said. Jan 6, 2009

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a $690,000 contract by the US Air Force Research Laboratory for its Integrated Vehicle Energy Technology (Invent) component and subsystem development programme. Under Invent, the UK company's US LibertyWorks subsidiary will design and develop a Robust Electrical Power System (REPS) for what the USAF describes as a future "energy-optimised aircraft". The goals for REPS include increasing fuel efficiency and power capability, improving efficiencies, reducing lifecycle costs, generating less heat and enabling an electricity capacity that can meet the expected higher demands of future on-board systems. Jan 6, 2009

Sikorsky Aircraft

The Israeli air force's first upgraded Sikorsky CH-53 2025 assault helicopter has begun flight-testing with the service's "Night Leaders" squadron. Work to modify the CH-53 "Yasur" with 20 new systems was completed at the air force's 22 maintenance unit late last year, with key elements including the installation of new electronic warfare and satellite communications equipment. Some of the equipment will enable the CH-53 2025 to perform high-altitude relay missions, with earlier test flights having seen the type reach an altitude of 18,000ft (5,490m). Jan 5, 2009

Urban Aeronautics

Urban Aeronautics has started windtunnel testing of a 250kt (465km/h) capable cargo variant of its new 100kt top-speed Mule ducted-fan unmanned air vehicle. The company says that the decision to carry out the 250kt variant's early development work is the result of discussions with potential customers. But the high-speed version lacks some of the advantages of the 100kt model, which could be used for medical evacuation missions and has the advantages of relative mechanical simplicity and easier carriage by Sikorsky CH-53 and AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters. Jan 7, 2009

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Date:Jan 12, 2009
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