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AUSTRIA ORDERS AW169 TO REPLACE LEGACY ALOUETTE III HELICOPTERS
Sunday, September 20, 2020
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.Source: Leonardo


Source: Leonardo


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VIENNA -- The Austrian Ministry of Defense has tapped the Leonardo AW169M as its preferred helicopter platform to replace its legacy fleet of SA-316 Alouette III light liaison and transport helicopters that have been in service since 1967. The acquisition will involve a procurement of 18 AW169Ms at the cost of around EUR300 million ($354 million), per Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner's announcement on September 21.

A Request for Information (RFI) regarding an Alouette III successor platform was sent to manufacturers on August 21, 2017. Among the vendors issued the RFI were Leonardo, Bell-Textron (Bell 429) and Airbus Helicopters for either its H135M or H145M.

Ultimately the Austrian MoD opted against a competitive tender, viewing the process as difficult for forming cooperative arrangements with a manufacturer. These arrangements include joint use of simulators, optimized storage, and modifications in the life cycle of the platform, as per the MoD press release. The 18 AW169M units will be operated thusly: 12 units deployed for rescue and emergency missions in Aigen/Ensstal, with the other six units stationed in Langenlebarn and used for training purposes.

Delivery of the first new AW169M unit is expected in mid-2022 on the basis of concluding contract negotiations within six months.

Source:  Kronen Zeitung
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Source Language: German

 
H-60 FLEET SUPPORT TEAM DEVELOPS 3D-PRINTED GEAR FOR NEW COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM
Monday, September 21, 2020
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3D-printed omnidirectional antenna mounts

.Source: U.S. Navy


3D-printed omnidirectional antenna mounts

Source: U.S. Navy


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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- The U.S. Navy’s MH-60S Seahawk multi-mission helicopter is ready for a communications upgrade, and engineers with the H-60 Fleet Support Team at Naval Air Systems Command’s In-Service Support Center at Fleet Readiness Center East have developed an innovative solution to support that effort.

The fleet’s inventory of more than 200 MH-60S Block 3 aircraft is slated to receive new Full Motion Video (FMV) systems, which will expand the aircraft’s operational capabilities. A team of structural and avionics engineers with the H-60 FST at FRCE developed prototypes of the equipment that will secure the modification to the aircraft, including two 3D-printed antenna mounts developed in conjunction with the Additive Manufacturing team at NAVAIR headquarters in Patuxent River, Maryland.

While the third antenna mount and equipment rack will be manufactured through more traditional methods, the two remaining antennas provided the development team with an opportunity to think outside of the box and explore additive manufacturing options.

The unconventional production method also provided the quickest and most cost-effective path to mass production, Stokes explained, allowing the team to meet the tight deadlines delivered by the program office. The team did explore other options, including a traditional composite layup. Composite material is frequently used for fairings across naval aviation, including on the MH-60S; however, the lead time and cost to develop a mold and mass produce the antenna mounts using that method was deemed too time consuming and costly when compared the 3D printing.

The 3D-printed mounts, along with the rest of the FMV mounting package, are now in the early evaluation stages of production. Stokes said the team is currently conducting a preliminary fit check of all aspects of the FMV modification, structures and avionics, to ensure proper fit and procedures are in place.

The team will complete the fit check and will incorporate any necessary changes into the technical directive, installation data package and design drawings. The NAVAIR Additive Manufacturing team at Patuxent River will then create three more copies of each 3D-printed mount - using the technical data provided by the H-60 FST team - and send those parts to FRCE for finishing. Once those steps are complete, the mounts will move into the next phase of testing: validation on a fleet aircraft at the test squadron at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Following validation, the team will conduct a verification of the technical directive on another fleet aircraft; any necessary changes and comments from the validation and verification processes will be incorporated into the technical directive, which will then be released to the fleet to be completed for all applicable aircraft. Validation and verification are standard aspects of any modification, Stokes explained, and must be completed before an airframe change - the type of technical directive the FMV system represents - can be released.

Source:  Naval Air Systems Command
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 
BAE SYSTEMS SECURES MAJOR MINE NEUTRALIZER CONTRACT WITH U.S. NAVY
Monday, September 21, 2020
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.Source: BAE Systems


Source: BAE Systems


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LONDON -- BAE Systems has been awarded a contract worth up to £87 million ($111 million) by the US Department of Defense to manufacture and deliver Archerfish mine neutralizers for the U.S. Navy.

This is the fourth consecutive Archerfish contract awarded to BAE Systems since 2003 and will see the Company deliver to the U.S. Navy over the next seven years.

Archerfish is a remote-controlled underwater mine neutralizer that can be launched and operated from a surface ship, helicopter or an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). Its fiber optic data link relays real-time, high resolution, low-light video and high frequency sonar pictures of targets of interest from its on-board sensors. The design reduces the time it takes to identify and neutralize targets, meaning clearance missions can be completed more quickly. Archerfish also protects personnel by eliminating the need to put divers into the water.

Archerfish is used by the US Navy's MH-60S Helicopter squadrons (AN/ASQ-235) as part of the Airborne Mine Neutralisation capability, deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship.

Under the new contract Archerfish will continue to support the US Navy in live mine clearance operations and also provide capability to conduct training exercises between now and 2027.

The contract also includes the supply of fiber optic spool kits, support equipment, surveys, repairs and program management and support, which will be provided by the Archerfish project team based in Portsmouth, UK.

Dr Brooke Hoskins, Director of Products and Training Services for BAE Systems' Maritime Services business, said: "This contract builds on our strong partnership with the U.S. Navy which has seen BAE Systems supporting its minesweeping operations for almost two decades. Archerfish not only helps to keep sailors safer, it also reduces the number and cost of mine clearance missions. Its world-leading capability and outstanding service with the US Navy makes Archerfish a highly attractive proposition to other major naval forces around the world."

Developed by BAE Systems under its own investment, Archerfish draws on the Company's extensive expertise in underwater effectors. Archerfish uses a flexible, open architecture command and control system that can be operated on its own or integrated into a higher-level command management structure. Wireless communications mean it can be deployed remotely.

Investments continue to be made to enhance Archerfish to meet future mine countermeasure challenges and reduce the through-life cost of the system. Innovative fusing will allow it to be recovered and reused and an automatic target recognition function is being developed that will allow concurrent multi-shot Archerfish operations, enabling mines to be neutralized in waves.

Archerfish is manufactured in the UK at BAE Systems’ Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Hillend facility in Dunfermline, Fife. The contract with the U.S. Department of Defense secures 30 highly skilled jobs in BAE Systems in Portsmouth and Fife and further jobs in the UK supply chain.

Source:  BAE Systems
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 

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