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13 mars 2015 5 13 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Two J-20 prototypes seen on test flights in Chengdu

 

2015-03-10 wantchinatimes.com

 

Two prototypes of China's J-20 stealth fighter were photographed carrying out test flights in Chengdu recently, reports the Shanghai-based Guancha Syndicate.

 

The prototypes, 2013, 2015, are said to be installed with new avionics developed by Aviation Industry Corporation of China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. Its chief designer Pu Xiaobo said the system he created has an open framework that builds on an unified optical interconnect module. The system has comprehensive features covering navigation, detection, identification, attack, management and pilots' health management. It also integrates flight management systems, electronics and aviation electronics, which will ensure the fighter jet can carry out a mission safely and the systems are able to share their resources with each other.

 

Pu and his team built the country's most advanced concept laboratory and a simulation environment to test the design.

 

The stealth fighter was first officially introduced to the public though a PLA recruitment video called Heroes' Sky released on Feb. 26. Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo of the PLA Navy said the film suggested the J-20 will enter service soon. The video also described the quality of the plane's stealth capabilities, flight control system, avionic electronic system, active phased array radar, supermaneuverability, over-the-horizon radar and attack have been improved as well, he added.

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13 mars 2015 5 13 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
F-35 Is Not Ready for Prime Time


 

Mar 13, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Project On Government Oversight; posted March 12, 2015)

 

DOT&E Report: The F-35 Is Not Ready for IOC and Won't Be Any Time Soon (excerpts)



Inside-the-Beltway wisdom holds that the $1.4 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is too big to cancel and on the road to recovery. But the latest report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) provides a litany of reasons that conventional wisdom should be considered politically driven propaganda.

The press has already reported flawed software that hinders the ability of the plane to employ weapons, communicate information, and detect threats; maintenance problems so severe that the F-35 has an “overdependence” on contractor maintainers and “unacceptable workarounds” (behind paywall) and is only able to fly twice a week; and a high-rate, premature production schedule that ignores whether the program has demonstrated essential combat capabilities or proven it’s safe to fly.

All of these problems are increasing costs and risks to the program. Yet rather than slow down production to focus resources on fixing these critical problems, Congress used the year-end continuing resolution omnibus appropriations bill—termed the “cromnibus”—to add 4 additional planes to the 34 Department of Defense (DoD) budgeted for Fiscal Year 2015.

The original FY2016 plan significantly increased the buy to 55, and now the program office is further accelerating its purchase of these troubled planes to buy 57 instead.

At some point, the inherent flaws and escalating costs of a program become so great that even a system with massive political buy-in reaches a tipping point. The problems described in the DOT&E report show that the F-35 has reached a stage where it is now obvious that the never-ending stream of partial fixes, software patches, and ad hoc workarounds are inadequate to deliver combat-worthy, survivable, and readily employable aircraft.

This year’s DOT&E report also demonstrates that in an effort to maintain the political momentum of the F-35, its program office is not beneath misrepresenting critically important characteristics of the system.

In sum, the old problems are not going away, new issues are arising, and some problems may be getting worse.

Below are some of the key issues raised by the DOT&E report.

Cooking the Numbers

The Joint Program Office, led by Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, is re-categorizing failure incidents to make the plane look more reliable than it actually is. This kind of number-cooking has been done in other important areas of the program, such as using gimmicks to lowball acquisition costs and operating costs per flying hour.

…/…

Section headings:

-- Testing Being Deferred, Not Completed
-- Significant Safety Risks Are Still Unresolved
-- Wing Drop Concerns
-- Engine Problems Continue to Hold the F-35 Program Back
-- Dangerous Helmet Failures
-- Initial Combat Capabilities for the Marine Corps Variant Will Be Even More Limited Than Planned
-- ALIS Software Failures
-- Software Snarls Jeopardize Combat Suitability
-- Hiding Today's Failings While Building a Huge Future Cost "Bow Wave"
-- A Maintenance Nightmare
-- Conclusion: Exquisitely Limited Capability


(end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story (with many onward links) on the POGO website.

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12 mars 2015 4 12 /03 /mars /2015 08:25
KC-390 photo Ricardo Beccari - Embraer

KC-390 photo Ricardo Beccari - Embraer


11 mars 2015 Embraer

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 17:55
photo Dassault Aviation

photo Dassault Aviation

 

11/03/2015 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

Après des années d'incertitudes, l'horizon semble se dégager pour Dassault Aviation. Le groupe se prépare un avenir prometteur.

 

Chez Dassault Aviation, dirigeants et salariés ont "la banane" actuellement. Il faut dire aussi que tous les clignotants de l'avionneur sont au vert : le Rafale a obtenu son premier contrat export en février, le renouvellement de la gamme Falcon dans l'aviation d'affaire (5X et 8X) se poursuit sans anicroche majeure, avec notamment le premier vol 8X le 6 février dernier et, enfin, les commandes de Falcon (90 appareils) sont supérieures aux livraisons (66) pour la première fois depuis 2008. Bref, la maison Dassault voit la vie en rose... d'autant plus qu'elle a même réussi à gagner la confiance du  Chef de l'Etat François Hollande. Ce qui était loin d'être acquis en 2012.

Dassault Aviation a annoncé mercredi viser environ 65 livraisons d'avions d'affaires Falcon en 2015 mais anticiper une hausse de son chiffre d'affaires cette année. Il compte en outre livrer cette année huit avions de combat Rafale (5 à la France, 3 à l'Égypte), contre 11 habituellement. "La chaine de fabrication Rafale sera maintenue à la cadence de 1 avion par mois, mais en raison de l'adaptat ion des livraisons Rafale Égypte, nous devrions livrer 8 Rafale en 2015", a expliqué Dassault Aviation dans un communiqué publié ce mercredi.

 

Des commandes en hausse en 2014

Cerise sur le gâteau, Dassault Aviation, après une année de transition en 2014 avec des résultats financiers plus que mitigés, se prépare à de nouvelles belles années. Ainsi, les prises de commandes, dont 89% ont été gagnées à l'export, se sont élevées à 4,6 milliards d'euros (contre 4,1 milliards en 2013). Les commandes de Falcon ont beaucoup progressé à 90 appareils l'an dernier (contre 64 en 2013). "Le marché d'avions civils repart", a d'ailleurs confirmé le PDG de Dassault, Eric Trappier.

En revanche, celles dans la défense ont diminué de près de moitié, à 693 millions d'euros (contre 1,25 milliard en 2013). Une baisse qui s'explique par d'importantes prises de commandes de la part du client France en 2013 : nouveau standard du Rafale F3-R, qui sera livré en 2018 avec le missile air-air longue portée Meteor, le Pod de désignation laser nouvelle génération et la version à guidage terminal laser de l'AASM et, d'autre part, rénovation des avions de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2. En 2014, les commandes ont plutôt porté sur de l'après-vente et du développement.

Du coup, le carnet de commandes est en hausse et s'est élevé au 31 décembre 2014 à 8,2 milliards d'euros (contre 7,37 milliards au 31 décembre 2013). Le fameux "book t o bill" (ratio prise de commandes et chiffre d'affaires) est positif et ressort à 1,26 en 2014. Il profite, en particulier, des commandes des Falcon 5X et 8X, les nouveaux programmes hauts de gamme de Dassault Aviation. En outre, le contrat Rafale en Egypte est entré en vigueur et sera dans les prises de commandes 2015. "Nous avons reçu le premier acompte lundi. Le contrat est effectif depuis lundi", a indiqué le PDG de Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier.

 

Des résultats économiques et financiers en baisse

Dassault Aviation a finalement été rattrapé par la morosité du marché de l'aviation d'affaires ces dernières années. Ainsi le chiffre d'affaires 2014 est en forte baisse, à 3,6 milliards (contre 4,6 milliards en 2013). Les livraisons de Falcon ont diminué en 2014 (66 avions livrés contre 77 en 2013). Soit un chiffre d'affaires de 2,6 milliards (contre 3,1 milliards en 2013). En outre, celui dans la défense est également en baisse (995 millions contre 1,4 milliard en 2013) même si Dassault Aviation a livré comme prévu 11 Rafale aux armées au cours de l'exercice 2014 à l'image de l'année précédente. L'avionneur avait enregistré en 2013 la facturation du programme du démonstrateur du drone de combat, Neuron.

Le bénéfice opérationnel a atteint 353 millions d'euros (contre 498 millions d'euros en 2013). Du coup, la marge opérationnelle s'est aussi érodée en s'établissant à 9,6% du chiffre d'affaires (contre 10,9% en 2013). Pourquoi? Le niveau de Recherche et Développement autofinancés de 488 millions d'euros (contre 482 millions en 2013) a représenté 13,3% du chiffre d'affaires (contre 10,5% en 2013). "Cela explique, pour l'essentiel, la diminution de la marge opérationnelle, a expliqué Dassault Aviation dans son communiqué. L'amélioration de la parité dollar/euro à la clôture (1,21 dollar/euro contre 1,38 dollar/euro) et du taux de couverture (1,25 dollar/euro, contre 1,26 dollar/euro) vient atténuer cette diminution".

 

Une trésorerie fortement mise à contribution

La trésorerie disponible consolidée s'est élevée à 2,4 milliards d'euros fin décembre (contre 3,7 milliards au 31 décembre 2013). "Cette diminution s'explique principalement par l'achat d'actions propres pour un montant de 934 millions d'euros, l'augmentation de 608 millions d'euros du besoin en fonds de roulement liée à la croissance des stocks et en-cours, le versement de 90 millions d'euros de dividendes, partiellement compensés par la capacité d'auto-financement générée par l'activité au cours de l'exercice (+ 331 millions d'euros)", a expliqué l'avionneur.

Le conseil d'administration de Dassault Aviation, réuni le 28 janvier 2015, a décidé de mettre en œuvre un nouveau programme de rachat d'actions. La part maximale du capital dont le rachat a été autorisé par l'assemblée générale des actionnaires du 28 janvier 2015 est de 10 % du nombre total des actions composant le capital de la Société. Ce qui devrait affecter une nouvelle fois la trésorerie de l'avionneur, qui voit toutefois à long terme. Notamment il compte annuler ces actions rachetées afin d'accroître la rentabilité des fonds propres et le résultat par actions. En outre, il souhaite augmenter la part du flottant pour mieux refléter les fondamentaux de la société.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 17:50
photo Alenia Aermacchi

photo Alenia Aermacchi

 

March 11, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The Polish Air Force finally selected a new jet trainer, the Italian M-346 Master. The other competitors were the British Hawk 128, U.S. T-50, and Czech L-159. The $311 million deal buys eight aircraft (with an option to buy four more), a full logistical package, technical support and documentation, advanced flight simulators, ejection simulator, and computer training aids.

 

The 9.5 ton M-346 was the cheapest offer in the bid as well as the second most modern one. The M-346 is a transonic jet trainer aircraft that began development in 2000 as an Italian (Aermacchi) Russian (Yak) joint venture. That didn’t last long because of different design priorities. The Russian line of development became the Yak-130, while the M-346, heavily modified from the original design and produced in Italy, had its first flight in 2004. The Polish Air Force is not the first export customer, the M-346 is also used by Israel, Italy and Singapore, and might be bought by even more countries in the future.

 

The Polish Air Force has long needed a new jet trainer. The M-346 is going to replace the Cold War era TS-11. This aircraft was made in Poland, but entered service in 1964. The 3.8 ton TS-11 is a subsonic jet that is badly outdated, especially when it came to training pilots for Polish air force's recently acquired F-16 fighters, with their far different and more advanced avionics.

 

Poland has been trying to obtain a more modern advanced jet trainer since the late 70's. By the 1990s the best candidate was the Polish 7.5 ton twin-engine I-22. However, long delays caused by political chaos and then the collapse of East European communist government in 1989 delayed things. But two I-22s crashing brought to light serious design flaws. That plus unusually high per hour flight cost led to the Polish Air Force losing interest in the I-22 and by 2000 and those still in use were retired. That led to a frantic search that took longer than expected and finally led to the M-346.

 

The M-346 can be modified to carry weapons, like the Italian T-346A variant does. The variant ordered by Poland is not a combat capable one. The aircraft is qualified as a transonic trainer, but it has been demonstrated as capable of reaching Mach 1.15 in producer's test flights.

 

A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) variant of the M-346 is currently in late stage of development, which is something that Poland might possibly consider and have its’ own M-346s modernized to in the future. The LCA will possess a better radar, defensive systems and 9 pylons capable of carrying 3 tons of various ordnance, including AIM-9, IRIS-T, Maverick and Brimstone missiles, bombs, recon and ECM pods. Three of the pylons can also support additional fuel tanks.

 

There is also another, recently developed modification kit for the M-346 - an easily installable low radar observability kit, based around differently constructed engine air intakes that grant the aircraft limited stealth capabilities, at least in frontal aspect.  --Adam Szczepanik

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
photo Airbus DS

photo Airbus DS

 

March 11, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Airbus Defence and Space; issued March 10, 2015)

 

Airbus Defence and Space has formally delivered the first of four Airbus A400M military transport ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The handover also marks the first delivery of an A400M to an export customer outside the original launch nations.

 

The aircraft was accepted at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain on 9 March by Chief of Malaysian Defence Force General Tan Sri Dr. Zulkifeli, witnessed by Datuk Nozirah, Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Finance, and Dato Dr. Rothiah, Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Defence, who signed the Transfer of Title on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Chief of RMAF, General Dato' Sri Roslan Bin Saad, said: "The A400M will give the RMAF the most advanced heavy transport capability in the region and enable us to undertake an extraordinary range of military and humanitarian operations."

 

Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Airbus Defence and Space, said: "We are extremely proud to deliver the first A400M to our first export customer - Malaysia. These aircraft will transform Malaysia's air mobility force thanks to the A400M’s unique combination of strategic and tactical capabilities. Today sends a clear message that the A400M is not just a specialised aircraft designed and developed for Europe's air forces, but is truly the new reference in tactical and strategic transport market globally – fulfilling both roles in a single machine."

 

After arrival in Malaysia, the A400M will star in the LIMA airshow at Langkawi, 17-21 March.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
Programme T-X  : Lockheed pourrait envisager de repartir de zéro

Air-to-air right side view of an USAF T-38 Talon aircraft from 560th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, TX, taken from the 3rd aircraft in echelon formation as lead aircraft banks to the left.- photo USAF

 

10/03/2015 par Antony Angrand – Air & Cosmos

 

Après Northrop Grumman, c'est maintenant au tour de Lockheed de garder sous la main une alternative possible concernant le programme T-X. Northrop Grumman est reparti d'une feuille blanche en abandonnant la version du T-X autour du BAE Hawk, faisant appel à Scaled Composites pour sa nouvelle mouture. Lockheed garde en option un appareil créé de toutes pièces, en parallèle au T-50 Golden Eagle.

 

Suite de l’article

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 18:35
Rafale at Aero India 2015 photo Shruti Pushkarna

Rafale at Aero India 2015 photo Shruti Pushkarna

 

March 9, 2015 Defense News

 

Now that Paris has shelved plans to deliver two helicopter assault ships to Russia, Moscow is working overtime to convince India to dump plans to buy French fighters and instead buy a new Sukhoi jet.

 

In 2012, New Delhi tapped Dassault's Rafale as its next fighter, with plans to acquire 126 of the twin-engine jets for $12 billion. At the time, Indian officials said the French jet would help them reduce their reliance on Russian equipment (India also flies French Mirage 2000 jets as part of a longstanding policy to avoid exclusive dependence on Moscow for military hardware).

 

By choosing Rafale, India also gains access to cutting-edge technology to advance its aerospace and defense industries.

 

But talks have stalled over price and who would bear responsibility for Rafales license-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

 

Russia is irked that its once-close ally has invested tens of billions of dollars on American transports, helicopters and maritime patrol planes and now is about to buy French jets.

 

At the recent IDEX trade show in Abu Dhabi, Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov announced that Russia and India had inked a deal to co-develop a new version of Sukhoi's Su-35. Indian officials, however, say Russia has pitched the jet, but have not yet agreed to move forward on the project.

 

The Su-35 is a formidable aircraft and an improvement over India's Su-30s, but the Rafale is superior as a system, with greater mission capability and reliability. And its technology is more likely to serve as a foundation for a more competitive Indian defense and aerospace industry.

 

The entire rationale behind the Rafale deal wasn't to get the least expensive fighter to meet India's needs, but the aircraft that would best satisfy the nation's long-range military needs as well as its industrial interests.

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 12:40
Attrition: The Grinding In Ukraine

 

March 9, 2015: Strategy Page

 

At the end of 2014 the world’s air forces possessed nearly 52,000 aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters). That’s down (because of accidents or retirement) about .8 percent from 2013. About 38 percent of those losses are from one country; Ukraine. In late 2014 Ukraine had about 400 military aircraft but 44 percent were lost to battle damage, capture or accidents in 2014 during the ongoing combat with Russian backed rebels and Russian troops.

 

Some Ukrainian aircraft were found to be unfit for service after having been neglected for too many years. Thus Ukraine lost about half its military aircraft in one year. Surface- to-air missiles took down 21 Ukrainian aircraft and one was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired by a Russian jet that was still in Russian air space. Other Ukrainian aircraft (helicopters) were lost to heavy machine-gun fire. At the moment the Ukrainian Air Force only has about 60 combat jets available and about as many helicopters. Russia has bullied Western nations into not providing weapons for Ukraine and thus is able to grind down the Ukrainians eventually.

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
photo F. Robineau Dassault Aviation

photo F. Robineau Dassault Aviation

 

March 9, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Egypt, looking to strengthen its military muscle, has placed an order for 24 Dassault Rafale Fighter Jets. Egypt has a long history of buying from the French and currently have some 100, Mirage V’s and Mirage 2000’s, in service. These two predecessors to the Rafale have served the Egyptian air force well, seeing action most recently in the 2014 bombing of Libya. But these Mirages are getting old and will have to be retired within the next ten years. Egypt has a large force of American F-16s, but the U.S. has lots of rules that prevent some countries from buying more and the rules change all the time. France is less judgmental when it comes to selling warplanes.

 

The Rafale costs between $100 and $130 million. Its design was based heavily off the Mirage 2000 and like most other Dassault fighters it has the Delta Wing configuration. The Rafale has a maximum speed of 2,130 kilometers an hour and a range of over 3,700 kilometers. It is equipped with a 30mm cannon and can carry nine tons worth of weapons. It is a battle tested aircraft that has already seen service with French Forces in Afghanistan, Mali, Libya and Iraq.

 

Over the past few years’ export buyers for the Rafale have been scarce. The Rafale is up against stiff competition for sales from aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Gripen NG, F-18 and Su-30. Thus in 2013 Brazil passed on buying the Rafale and instead went with the cheaper Swedish Gripen NG. The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is still considering a purchase as is India. This latest sale to Egypt is a much needed to boost for Dassault and an aircraft that has not been selling well. What helped make this sale happen was Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE providing half the financing and the French government guaranteeing most of the other half. Egypt is not a good credit risk and has been kept afloat since 2011 by massive charity from Gulf Arab oil states (like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE).

 

France has had nothing but hard times trying to find export customers for its Rafale. In 2009 the production rate was reduced from 14 a year to 11 aircraft a year and that was further reduced later. This was to slow down the delivery of Rafales, mainly because the Defense Ministry has decided that other things were more important. The new emphasis (and spending) is on peacekeeping and anti-missile defenses. Another reason for slowing down Rafale production was the lack of export orders.

 

India is currently taking a closer look at the Rafale. The country has been seeking to modernize its military and has most recently turned to the United States for assistance. France wants to build up its relationship with India, as well, and would like it to purchase the Rafale. The Indian air force is already using the Mirage 2000 and has historically liked Dassualt aircraft. The two main sticking points, standing in the way of a deal, are the Rafale’s rising price tag and whether India will be able to produce the fighter domestically. India insists on coproduction (some Rafale manufacturing done in India) and the French believe India overestimates its capabilities in handling some of the advanced technologies that go into Rafale. Of course India wants local manufacturers to handle that advanced tech and this is how you learn. But India also wants the French held responsible for the quality of items produced in India and this is still being negotiated. The French are confident and hope to close out a $20 billion deal for the Indian Rafale by the end of 2015

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7 mars 2015 6 07 /03 /mars /2015 17:20
Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion Wing Line Restarted

From left: Peter Hillier, Karen Eilbmeier, and Michael Spurr from the Canada Department of National Defence were on hand to commemorate the reopening of the P-3 wing line at Marietta, Georgia.

 

MARIETTA, Ga., March 5, 2015 – Lockheed Martin

 

Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] restarted the wing production line for the P-3 Orion Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) program for Canada and Chile on March 4.

 

The P-3 wing line was last in production in August 2014. The gap in production extended the opportunities for global operators to assess their fleet needs.

 

“We are very excited about restarting the wing line here in Marietta and we are very proud of the partnership with Canada and Chile,” said Mark Jarvis, P-3 program manager. “We look forward to building wings for the many P-3 operators across the globe.”

 

The MLU replaces the outer wings, center wing, horizontal stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer leading edges.  All necessary fatigue life-limiting structures are replaced, leading to significantly reduced maintenance and sustainment costs.  New alloys are employed that provide a five-fold increase in corrosion resistance.

 

The P-3 Orion plays a vital role in maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, drug interdiction, hurricane hunting, fire-fighting and anti-submarine surveillance. Due to the MLU, it will support operators for 20-25 more years.

 

“The P-3 Orion is the gold standard in maritime reconnaissance,” said Jarvis, “We are excited to keep this venerable workhorse flying for many years to come.”

 

In addition to Canada and Chile, other MLU customers include U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the U.S. Navy and Norway.

 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

From left to right:  Sean Lockhart, Ali Khoshro start working on Canada’s first wing of 2015 while Brent Miller, the Beam Shop Supervisor looks on.

From left to right: Sean Lockhart, Ali Khoshro start working on Canada’s first wing of 2015 while Brent Miller, the Beam Shop Supervisor looks on.

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6 mars 2015 5 06 /03 /mars /2015 20:55
Le sergent Antoine, cadet de la mission Atlas - photo Armée de l'Air

Le sergent Antoine, cadet de la mission Atlas - photo Armée de l'Air

 

06/03/2015 Cne Karim Djemaï – Armée de l’Air

 

À 21 ans, le sergent Antoine, alias « Tonio », est le plus jeune participant à la mission menée par l’A400M Atlas autour du monde. Du 19 février au 6 mars 2015, Tonio a, en tant que mécanicien « vecteur », contribué à la mise en œuvre et à la maintenance de l’avion de transport de l’armée de l’air. Rencontre tonifiante entre deux fuseaux horaires.

 

Comment ce tour du monde à bord de l’Atlas s’est-il passé pour vous ?

Sergent Antoine L. : C’est ma toute première mission à l’étranger et j’ai eu la chance d’avoir été choisi pour effectuer ce périple. Du coup, je me suis donné à fond ! Durant ce tour du monde, nous avons enchaîné les pays à un rythme soutenu. À chaque étape, notamment pendant le salon aéronautique d’Avalon en Australie, nous avons reçu un accueil exceptionnel. Partout, les gens se sont pressés pour voir l’avion de près et nous poser toutes sortes de questions. En à peine quinze jours de mission, j’ai énormément appris. Aujourd’hui, j’ai gagné en assurance et mes compétences se sont étoffées. En termes de maintenance, l’appareil s’est extrêmement bien comporté.

 

Quel était votre rôle durant la mission ?

En tant que mécanicien « vecteur » j’interviens sur l’ensemble de l’appareil : circuits hydrauliques, moteurs, freins, train d’atterrissage... Je participe aussi aux opérations de servicing (remise en œuvre de l’appareil) : faire les niveaux et les pleins de carburant, brancher un groupe de démarrage, mettre les cales et les sécurités…  N’étant pas encore titulaire de toutes les qualifications, je devais assister mon chef d’équipe. L’appareil disposait d’un ensemble de pièces de rechange (roues, protections des capots de moteurs, bougies…) pour pallier les différents cas de figures.

 

Depuis quand opèrez-vous sur A400M ?

Lorsque je suis arrivé sur la base aérienne 123 d’Orléans, j’ai dû attendre l’arrivée des premiers Atlas. Je me suis donc « fait la main » sur Transall. Pendant 18 mois, j’ai été affecté à l’atelier moteur de l’escadron de soutien technique aéronautique (ESTA) 2E/061 « Loiret ». J’étais chargé de remettre en état les hélices de C160. De juin à septembre 2014, j’ai suivi la formation sur A400M, chez l’industriel à Séville en Espagne. C’était très exigeant. En quelques semaines, il a fallu assimiler le fonctionnement général des systèmes de l’appareil. Cela représente une documentation d’environ 12 000 pages ! En plus, pour corser le tout, la totalité des cours se déroulaient en anglais !

 

Comment avez-vous choisi de devenir « mécanicien vecteur » ?

J’ai toujours été attiré par l’aéronautique. Tout gosse déjà, mon père m’emmenait sur les meetings aériens. J’ai très vite attrapé le « virus ». Je me suis engagé en 2009 comme arpète sur la base aérienne 722 de Saintes. J’avais alors 16 ans. J’ai décroché un BAC STI avec mention bien. Jamais je n’aurais obtenu de tels résultats dans un lycée classique. À Saintes, la préparation est excellente. Chez les arpètes, l’esprit de cohésion est très fort. On forme un groupe soudé. On prend beaucoup de plaisir à se revoir, que ce soit en France ou partout ailleurs dans le monde. En tant que mécanicien vecteur, je voulais travailler sur un gros avion, fait pour le transport aérien. J’adhère totalement à l’état d’esprit qui règne dans le transport. On constitue une communauté unie. En tant que dernier arrivé, je dois m’imprégner des traditions. Pendant ce tour du monde, je devais par exemple m’occuper de la mascotte de l’atelier. Elle est revenue en métropole avec pleins de souvenirs, qui pourront ensuite être partagés avec l’ensemble de l’unité !

 

Mission Atlas : le sergent Antoine, mécanicien - photo Armée de l'Air

Mission Atlas : le sergent Antoine, mécanicien - photo Armée de l'Air

Des mécaniciens autour du monde

Pour effectuer son premier tour du monde, l’A400M Atlas a embarqué pas moins de huit mécaniciens afin de pouvoir assurer un dépannage, en toute autonomie, à des milliers de kilomètres de la métropole. De nombreuses spécialités étaient représentées : un officier mécanicien, un chef de piste, un mécanicien « cellule », un technicien en télécommunications, ainsi que deux mécaniciens « vecteur » et deux mécaniciens « avionique ». Ces deux dernières spécialités sont aussi respectivement appelées « B1 » et « B2 ». La lettre B correspond au niveau de licence de navigabilité délivré, en accord avec la réglementation civile.

Le tour du monde de l’Atlas à travers les yeux du sergent Antoine
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6 mars 2015 5 06 /03 /mars /2015 17:20
Raytheon wins support work for bomb carriages

 

DULLES, Va., March 3 By Richard Tomkins (UPI)

 

Raytheon is supplying a range of technical support services for advanced bomb carriage systems under a contract from the U.S. Air Force.

 

Life-cycle technical support for advanced bomb carriage and release systems is being conducted by Raytheon under a contract from the U.S. Air Force.

 

The award for the Joint Miniature Munitions Bomb Rack Unit, or JMM BRU, program is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a period of performance of eight years.

 

Raytheon said the contract is worth $35 million and that it has already received its first delivery order under the contract that began late last year.

 

"JMM BRU end users now have a next-evolution system that can be integrated with more than 11 different platforms," said Todd Probert, vice president for the Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. "Our strength in engineering and design allowed us to offer the customer a system with improved combat turn-around time, enhanced system performance and improved warfighter readiness."

 

Raytheon said its work under the award includes engineering, investigation and analysis, aircraft integration, testing, training, material and software updates, simulations, modeling, test hardware, initial spares and procurement of associated hardware.

 

The JMM BRU system will enable the Air Force and U.S. Navy to perform more missions utilizing fewer aircraft, Raytheon said.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 19:51
Semaine mondiale des femmes de l’air - Women of Aviaton Week

 

05/03/2015 Armée de l'air

 

Du 2 au 8 mars 2015, nous célébrons la semaine mondiale des femmes de l’air, dont le thème cette année est : « servir avec honneur : 100 ans des femmes pilotes de combat. »

 

Les femmes pilotes à l’honneur à Avignon lors de la journée de la femme

 

Cet événement sera clôturé le 8 mars par la journée de la femme.  À cette occasion, après Le Touquet et La Baule, Avignon accueillera la journée de sensibilisation du public féminin aux activités aéronautiques organisée en France. Les femmes pilotes de combat seront mises à l’honneur. L'armée de l'air y participera avec un Fennec et un SR22. En plus d’aviatrices, l’événement accueillera également des équipages de l’aviation légère de l’armée de terre (ALAT), de la marine nationale et de la gendarmerie.

 

L’armée de l’air est « la plus féminisée de France, voire d’Europe »

 

Le 20 février 2015, lors d’une intervention devant le groupe « Grandes Écoles au féminin », le général Denis Mercier, chef d’état-major de l’armée de l’air (CEMAA), a eu l’occasion de parler des femmes dans l’armée de l’air. À cette occasion, il a rappelé que c’est l’armée « la plus féminisée de France, voire d’Europe ». Dès sa création, elle s’est construite autour de femmes aviatrices, telles que Maryse Bastié, Jacqueline Auriol, Élisabeth Boselli, ou encore Valérie André. Aujourd’hui, les femmes dans l’armée de l’air, représentent « un peu plus de 10 000 personnes, soit environ 23% des effectifs, avec une grande diversité des parcours et des carrières. » Le CEMAA a également rappelé que c’est « la seule armée qui n’a pas de spécialité fermée aux femmes. » Pour lui, pas de différences propres entre les hommes et les femmes dans la manière de commander, mais plutôt des spécificités propres à chacun : « Se connaître soi-même est essentiel. Chacun doit être sincère et développer son style propre de leadership. »

 

Les femmes dans l’armée de l’air en chiffres

 

Près de 10 000 femmes, soit 23% des effectifs.

52% d’entre-elles sont sous-officiers

39% militaires du rang

et 9% officiers (2 d’entre elles ont le grade de général).

110 personnels naviguant féminin sont aujourd’hui en activité.

Les femmes représentent 30% des candidats au recrutement.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 16:55
photo S. Randé - Dassault Aviation

photo S. Randé - Dassault Aviation

 

05 mars 2015 Par Hassan Meddah - Usinenouvelle.com

 

Venu à l'usine de Dassault Aviation à Mérignac pour saluer la première vente à l'exportation de l'avion de combat français, le président de la République a aussi tiré les leçons des succès de la filière aéronautique.

 

Un président de la République dans une usine Dassault Aviation, ça ne s'était jamais vu. En visitant le 4 mars, l'usine d'assemblage des Rafale de Mérignac (Gironde), François Hollande réalise ainsi une première. Arrivé vers 14 heures avec son Falcon présidentiel (un jet d'affaires fabriqué par Dassault Aviation), le chef de l'Etat a été accueilli par les principaux dirigeants du groupe, des centaines de salariés ainsi que par un passage à basse altitude d'un Rafale dans un bruit assourdissant. L'avion de combat était au cœur de la visite de la chaîne d'assemblage et des discours.

Malgré les baisses de commandes de Rafale de l'Etat du fait des contraintes budgétaires, François Hollande savait qu'il serait bien accueilli. Cette visite surprise intervient quelques semaines après le premier succès de l'avion de combat à l'exportation avec la vente à l'Egypte de 24 appareils. Un succès qui selon lui en appelle d'autres.

"Aussitôt cette réussite connue, le ministre de la Défense Jean Yves Le Drian est reparti. Il a été appelé par de nombreux pays et lui-même est allé voir tout ceux qui s'étaient un moment intéressés au Rafale. Je pense que c'est vraiment un très bon signe qui est venu grâce à la conclusion de ce contrat", a-t-il précisé. Alors que la France négocie avec l'Inde la vente de 126 appareils, d'autres pays ont manifesté un intérêt pour le Rafale comme le Qatar, les Emirats Arabes Unis, la Malaisie... Un deuxième contrat à l'exportation redonnerait des couleurs à la ligne d'assemblage des Rafale qui tourne avec une cadence minimale d'un avion par mois, soit environ la moitié environ de ses capacités.

 

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
SESAR acknowledges shortfall in RPAS integration funding

 

3 Mar 2015 By Beth Stevenson - FG

 

Brussels - The European Commission’s future air traffic management initiative has only one-third of the budget required to carry out the full integration of remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) into European airspace, a senior representative has acknowledged.

Speaking at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems conference in Brussels on 3 March, Denis Koehl, senior advisor for military affairs on the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme, explains that it is some €110 million ($123 million) short of the required amount for full unmanned air vehicle integration.

The disclosure comes ahead of a commission-sponsored conference on the future of ATM, due to begin on 5 March in Latvia. This is expected to produce decisions on the commitment that the EU will make towards the integration of UAVs into the SESAR programme.

 

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
photo Rolls-Royce

photo Rolls-Royce

 

3 Mar 2015 By: Stephen Trimble - FG

 

Washington DC - Rolls-Royce has opened the first repair and overhaul facility for the Lockheed Martin F-35B's LiftFan system in Indiana, as it consolidates assembly of major components away from the UK.

The $10 million LiftWorks repair facility in Plainfield will serve as an interim logistics hub for F-35Bs operated by the US Marine Corps and the UK. The site could eventually be augmented or replaced by the US government depot system or separate repair and overhaul facilities in the UK or Italy, should either of those governments decide to invest in that capability, says Tom Hartmann, senior vice-president of R-R.

 

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 07:30
Dornier 228NG - photo RUAG Aviation

Dornier 228NG - photo RUAG Aviation

 

March 3, 2015 By Craig Hoyle - FG

 

RUAG has promoted its Dornier 228NG utility aircraft to several potential users in Oman, as part of which it has conducted a series of demonstration flights over a three-day period.

Offering the twin-engined type to Oman’s air force, police service and tourism sector in association with local partner Aflag, the Swiss company says it could be used to fulfil numerous roles.

“No other aircraft can perform surveillance flights more efficiently than the Dornier 228. The borders of the Sultanate and the exclusive economic zone can be supervised in the most cost-efficient ways,” claims Philippe Erni, RUAG Aviation’s regional sales director for the Middle East, India, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

 

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
Le dernier C-17 de l'US Air Force a été livré en septembre 2013 photo Boeing

Le dernier C-17 de l'US Air Force a été livré en septembre 2013 photo Boeing

 

02/03/2015  par Guillaume Belan – Air & Cosmos

 

Alors que le salon International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) vient de fermer ses portes aux Emirats Arabes Unis, Abu Dhabi annonce avoir signé un contrat avec Boeing de 618 millions de dollars pour l'achat de deux avions de transport militaire C-17.

 

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 13:35
Philippine Air Force C-295M being tested in Seville, Spain

Philippine Air Force C-295M being tested in Seville, Spain

 

March 3, 2015 manilatimes.net

 

The cargo and transportation capability of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be getting a much needed boost with the arrival of the first C-295 medium lift aircraft from Spanish manufacturer EADS/CASA-Airbus Military this March.

 

This was confirmed by Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, modernization and materiel Fernando Manalo in an interview with the PNA.

 

“Our first C-295 will be arriving this March,” he said.

 

The March delivery date of the first C-295 is five months earlier than its scheduled August arrival, Manalo said.

 

He did not give the specific date for security reasons.

 

With the early arrival of the first aircraft, the DND undersecretary expects the two other aircraft to follow in short order.

 

EADS/CASA-Airbus Military won the DND’s medium lift aircraft program by tendering a bid for Php5.29-billion for three aircraft last year.

 

This is considerably lower than the Php5.3-billion stipulated in the contract.

 

The PAF’s medium lift capability is presently being fulfilled by its three F-27 “Friendship” aircraft.

 

“These aircraft will help in troop and limited equipment movement,” DND secretary Voltaire Gazmin earlier said.

 

The C-295 is described as “a capable and versatile transport and surveillance aircraft.”

 

EADS/CASA stated that the C-295 can carry up to nine tons of cargo or 71 people.

 

It also has a maximum cruising speed of 260 knots and operate in short and rough airfields

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 13:35
First 2 F/A-50s to be mission ready upon arrival

 

02 March 2015 ptvnews.ph

 

Come December this year, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be flying and using two South Korean-made F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" to defend the country's airspace.

 

The fighter jets would be part of the 12 F/A-50 bought for Php 18.9 billion by the Philippines under a purchase deal with Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), signed in March 2013.

 

The two jet fighters are expected to be delivered by December while the rest of the 10 F/A-50s by 2016.

 

"We are looking at the early delivery of two F/A-50s. They will be combat and mission ready upon their arrival this December," Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, modernization and materiel Fernando Manalo said on Monday in an interview with the PNA.

 

Mission ready means that the aircraft can fly immediately and do patrol and interception missions if needed.

 

Earlier, Philippine Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said that the soon-to-be commissioned F/A-50s, with relatively updated radar systems onboard, would do autonomous air patrols without relying too much on ground based surveillance systems.

 

"(The F/A-50s) has its own onboard radar systems so it can detect (any hostile air threats) while on patrol," he said.

 

Canaya declined to give the specifics of the F/A-50's radar systems for security reasons but stressed that it is quite adequate for air patrol work.

 

This feature of the South Korean made jet fighter has greatly boosted the air defense capabilities of the PAF which was greatly reduced with the decommissioning of its Northrop F-5 "Tiger" jet fighter squadrons and Vought F-8 "Crusader" fleet, in 2005 and 1988, respectively.

 

This was done due to air frame aging and lack of spare parts to keep the two planes on operational status.

 

WIth the deactivation of its two premier supersonic jet fighters, the PAF was forced to convert the SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet trainers for an air defense role.

 

However, the S-211s are ill-suited for air defense work due to their slow speeds.

 

The DND earlier said that the radar systems onboard the F/A-50s was one of the many pluses why the Philippines opted to acquire 12 units of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) made jet fighter over its many competitors.

 

The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

 

The F/A-50 will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

 

The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

 

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.

 

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

 

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

 

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

 

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

 

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

 

The F/A-50 uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and Korean Aerospace Industries.

 

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

 

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kilonewton (17,700 pound force) of thrust with afterburner.

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 12:20
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye - photo US Navy

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye - photo US Navy

 

March 2, 2015 By John Keller - militaryaerospace.com

 

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 2 March 2015. U.S. Navy aviation experts are ordering one advanced E-2D maritime patrol and air control aircraft from its manufacturer, Northrop Grumman Corp., under terms of a $148.3 million contract modification announced Friday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in Melbourne, Fla., to provide one E-2D full rate production advanced Hawkeye radar surveillance aircraft.

 

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 11:55
L'État récolte un milliard d'euros après la vente d'une partie du capital de Safran

L'Etat a allégé à plusieurs reprises au cours de ces dernières années sa participation dans Safran et dans le capital d'autres entreprises à participations publiques, afin de réduire son endettement et de réinvestir dans des secteurs économiques d'avenir. - photo Safran

 

03/03/2015 latribune.fr (AFP,Reuters)

 

L'État a cédé 3,96% du capital du groupe industriel et technologique, soit quelque 16,5 millions d'actions. La France reste le premier actionnaire du groupe.

 

La part de l'État dans le groupe Safran va une nouvelle fois baisser. Le gouvernement a lancé lundi 2 mars le processus de cession d'une partie de sa participation dans le groupe industriel et technologique français.

Les 16,5 millions de titres proposés par l'Agence des Participations de l'État (APE), qui s'échangeaient à 63,76 euros à la clôture de la Bourse lundi soir, ont été placés auprès d'investisseurs institutionnels.

 

L'État maintiendra "son influence"

Au terme de ce placement, l'État restera le premier actionnaire de Safran, avec 18,03% de son capital.

"Les droits de vote double dont dispose l'État lui permettront de maintenir à terme son influence à l'assemblée générale de l'entreprise", soulignent dans une communiqué les ministères de l'Economie et des Finances.

 

Volonté de réduire son endettement

L'État a allégé à plusieurs reprises au cours de ces dernières années sa participation dans Safran et dans le capital d'autres entreprises à participations publiques, afin de réduire son endettement et de réinvestir dans des secteurs économiques d'avenir.

Le ministre de l'Économie Emmanuel Macron avait annoncé en octobre que l'État, qui détient actuellement des participations dans 74 entreprises pour une valeur d'environ 110 milliards d'euros, allait céder 5 à 10 milliards d'euros d'actifs dans les 18 mois suivants.

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
AW609 TiltRotor photo AgustaWestland

AW609 TiltRotor photo AgustaWestland

 

Mar 3, 2015 ASDNews Source : AgustaWestland, A Finmeccanica Company

 

Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland announced today that the AW609 TiltRotor program has achieved key milestones, initiating the production phase in anticipation of the first customer deliveries. The company has expanded the AW609 TiltRotor program to include the AgustaWestland Philadelphia facility through its designation as the first final assembly line for the only civil tiltrotor in development to date.  A second final assembly line is expected to be established at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate facility in Italy at a later date.

 

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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
Aselsan, Honeywell Sign MoU on Collaboration

 

Feb 27 2015 trdefence.com (DefenseNews)

 

ANKARA — Turkish defense electronics specialist Aselsan and US Honeywell have signed a memorandum of understanding to generate a framework for future collaboration, Aselsan said in a statement Friday.

 

The statement from Turkey’s biggest company said: “[Aselsan and Honeywell] signed a memorandum of understanding on the third day of the IDEX 2015 Exhibition at Abu Dhabi.”

 

It said that the agreement sets forth a pathway for collaboration on avionics products for both civilian and military industries.

 

It also said: “To ensure that the cooperative work to be undertaken by the companies proceeds efficiently, the parties have agreed to establish a Steering Committee to ensure regular meetings as well as dedicated Working Groups to execute the collaborative efforts.”

 

Aselsan says its business focuses on in-house critical capabilities, state-of-the-art technologies and sustainable research and development.

 

The company, listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, primarily engages in design, development, production, system integration, modernization and after sales services in the fields of military communication systems, professional communication systems, radar and electronic warfare systems, electro-optical systems, avionic systems, defense and weapon systems, C4ISR systems, naval combat systems, transportation systems, security systems, and energy and power management systems.

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