Lockheed Martin F-35 Successful In First Probe-And-Drogue Aerial Refueling

A short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II takes on fuel from a KC-130J tanker near Fort Worth on Aug. 13. The fuel transfer marked the first time an F-35 has used the Navy- and Marines-style probe-and-drogue refueling system.

August 14th, 2009, Fort Worth, Texas -- A short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter has become the first F-35 to complete an aerial refueling test using the Navy- and Marine Corps-style probe-and-drogue refueling system. Thursday's successful mission is the first in a short series of tests that will clear the STOVL F-35B variant for extended-range flights, particularly to its primary test site at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

"The F-35 program is on the cusp of a tremendous expansion in flight test as a large number of new aircraft enter the test fleet this year and early next year," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. "This milestone will help ensure that we fill the pipeline between Fort Worth and Pax River with F-35s and maintain our flight-test tempo."

During Thursday's flight, the F-35B designated BF-2 (the second STOVL flight test aircraft), began a series of tests in which fuel is uploaded into the aircraft at 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000 feet, at speeds ranging from 200 to 250 knots. The pilot on the initial F-35B aerial refueling flight was U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Joseph T. "O.D." Bachmann.

The refueling mission also marked the first time a Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker has been used to refuel an F-35. Since deployment to Iraq in 2005 the KC-130J has offloaded more than 186 million pounds of fuel during combat operations. Previous refueling missions with the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant were accomplished with a KC-135 tanker. To date, the first F-35A has received approximately 110,000 pounds of fuel during aerial refuelings.

Probe-and-drogue refueling employs a flexible hose that trails from the tanker aircraft. The basketlike drogue at the end of the hose connects to the receiving aircraft’s probe, which, in the case of the F-35, resides on the right side of the forward fuselage and retracts when not in use. The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and the air forces of many other countries use the probe/drogue system, while the U.S. Air Force refuels its aircraft via a rigid flying boom that inserts into a receptacle on the receiving airplane.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 and F-22 are the world's only 5th generation fighters, uniquely characterized by a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities and advanced sustainment. The three F-35 variants are derived from a common design, are being developed together and will use the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, bringing economies of commonality and scale.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.

Lockheed Martin

Boeing B-1 Upgraded With Fully Integrated Data Link Completes 1st Flight

August 13, 2009, Long Beach, California -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] on July 29 successfully completed the first flight of a B-1 bomber upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL). This upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture, enhancing B-1 crews' situational awareness and communications capability. The U.S. Air Force 419th Test Squadron conducted the flight from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The objective of the FIDL development program is to enhance the B-1 bomber by integrating beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight data links. The data links reduce crew workload by dynamically re-tasking missions, eliminating the need for steps such as manual entry of weapons data for targeting.

In addition to the cockpit upgrades, the modification also improves and more tightly integrates the aft crew stations by replacing displays and associated hardware that were installed during aircraft production in the early 1980s. Additional upgrades include new open-architecture processors, mass-storage capability and an Ethernet network to integrate the aircraft's systems.

Boeing personnel at Edwards Air Force Base have been modifying the test aircraft over the past year. B-1 program employees at Edwards, at the Boeing facility in Long Beach and in other locations developed and integrated the new system's hardware and software.

"Our team worked closely with the Air Force and many other programs throughout Boeing as we performed independent reviews of product designs and gained valuable insight from employees performing similar development tasks," said Mahesh Reddy, Boeing B-1 program manager. "This cross-company teamwork led to our successful first flight, which brings us one step closer to completing this major B-1 upgrade for our customer."

Flight testing will continue through 2010. The Air Force is expected to award a contract in November 2010 for the production of FIDL installation kits for the service's entire B-1 fleet.


Boeing Delivers Qatar's 1st C-17 Globemaster III

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Malki of the Qatar Airlift Selection Committee addresses Boeing [NYSE: BA] employees and guests in Long Beach at today's delivery ceremony for Qatar's first C-17 Globemaster III airlifter. (Photo: Boeing/Paul Pinner/Neg. #: SLF09-0444-047)

August 11, 2009, Long Beach, California -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today delivered Qatar's first C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the Qatar Emiri Air Force during a ceremony at the company's facility in Long Beach.

"With this C-17, and the one that will be delivered later this year, the Qatar Emiri Air Force now has unequaled tactical and strategic airlift capabilities -- including high reliability and operational flexibility -- that enhance our ability to transport troops and equipment and to support humanitarian operations throughout the Middle East and South Asia," said Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Malki, head of Qatar's airlift selection committee.

Qatar became the first Middle East nation to order the C-17 when it signed an agreement with Boeing on July 21, 2008, for the purchase of two advanced airlifters and associated equipment and services.

"We pledge that Qatar's commitment to the C-17 will be matched by our expertise and dedication to give them the finest airlifter the world has ever known," said Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president and general manager, Global Mobility Systems. "We are proud to extend our mission -- to deliver and support the C-17 -- to an area of the world where the aircraft will be used effectively and efficiently to help keep the peace and to provide aid on a moment's notice."

Boeing will deliver Qatar's second C-17 later this year. The company will provide operational support, including material management and depot maintenance support, under the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership.

"Qatar's selection of the C-17 reflects the strong international interest we continue to see in this advanced airlifter -- especially in the Middle East, where it brings unparalleled capabilities for military, humanitarian and disaster-relief missions," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing Global Mobility Systems vice president of Business Development.

There are currently 205 C-17s in service worldwide. With today's delivery, 16 have been placed with international customers. The U.S. Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 189. International customers include Qatar, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability consortium of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. The United Arab Emirates announced on Feb. 24 that it also will acquire four C-17s.


PT DI to deliver four CN-235 planes to South Korea


August 10, 2009, Jakarta -- PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) will deliver four CN-235 surveillance aircraft ordered by South Korea worth US$100 million in 2010, a company executive said.

"We will start delivering the four surveillance aircraft ordered by South Korea in 2010," the company`s vice president for marketing and integrated aircraft sales, Arie Wibowo, said here on Monday.

He said South Korea was one of the countries that had ordered CN-235s at the price of US$100 million.

PT DI produces CN-235 aircraft in a variety of versions and the product was already being operated in other countries beside Indonesia and South Korea.

"South Korea is only one of the countries (operating the aircraft). Basically we have no competitors in the Asia Pacific," he said.

Countries already using CN-235s include Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Burkina Faso.

PT DI also produces Super Puma NAS-332 helicopters under a license from France`s Eurocopter (Aerospatiale).

The company whose shares are entirely held by the government was established in 1976 and from the beginning has produced NC-212, 19-24 seat passenger aircraft under a license from Spain`s EADS Casa and NBO-105 helicopters under a license from Germany`s DASA Eurocopter.

Since 1984 PT DI has produced NBell-412 SPs and HPs under a license from Bell Helicopter Textron of the USA.

"Besides producing aircraft and helicopters we also produce structural components for Boeing 737s, Boeing 777s, Bombardiers, Airbuses, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Eurocopter and CTRM Malaysia," he said.

The company is the only company producing and supplying Inboard-Outboard Fixed Leading Edge Airbus A 380 components.

According to the president director and chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Ricard J Millman, PT DI has all the potentials and capabilities to become an aviation company as well as a producer and marketer for the Asia Pacific region. "PT DI has all the potentials," he said.


Boeing to Demonstrate Unmanned Cargo Aircraft for US Marine Corps

A160T Hummingbird. (Photo: boeing)

August 10, 2009, St. Louis -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] received a $500,000 contract from the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory on Aug. 5 to demonstrate the company's A160T (YMQ-18A) Hummingbird for the Marines' Immediate Cargo Unmanned Aerial System Demonstration Program.

"This is a big win for the program and Boeing's newly created Unmanned Airborne Systems division," said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. "Since 2007, when the A160T made its first flight, it has shown it has the ability to carry multiple payloads and perform at various altitudes and speeds. We are confident it will perform well for the Marines."

In flights that will take place by February, Boeing will demonstrate that the A160T can deliver at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another in fewer than six hours per day for three consecutive days. The Marines are studying the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in lieu of trucks and personnel to deliver supplies.

"This is an important mission, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate the A160T's capabilities for the Marine Corps," said Vic Sweberg, Boeing director of Unmanned Airborne Systems (UAS). "By creating a new division specifically for unmanned airborne systems, Boeing can better support our customers' growing requirements for unmanned capabilities, and the A160T is among the most versatile platforms of our UAS business."

In addition to the A160T Hummingbird, Boeing's UAS division includes ScanEagle, SolarEagle, and MQ-X.

The A160T has a 2,500-pound payload capacity. It features a unique optimum-speed-rotor technology that significantly improves overall performance efficiency by adjusting the rotor's speed at different altitudes, gross weights and cruise speeds. The autonomous unmanned aircraft, measuring 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, has hovered at 20,000 feet and cruised at more than 140 knots. The A160T established a world endurance record in its class in 2008 with an 18.7-hour unrefueled flight.


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