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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
U.S. To Re-Enter Indian Light Copter Contest

March 2, 2015 by Shiv Aroor - Livefist

India's third attempt at procuring 197 light reconnaissance/surveillance helicopters (RSH) for the Indian Army and IAF kicks off this month, and if two attempts across the last decade haven't thrown up enough dust, indications are that this third effort is all set to be even more interesting.


The two finalists in the last abortive attempt, Airbus Helicopters with the AS550 C3 Fennec and Kamov with the Ka-226T2 Sergei will both compete through respective build partners in India (the latter has a seemingly separate proposal to build the Sergei and Mi-17 V-5s in India.)

U.S. firm Bell Helicopter, which competed in the original effort (that began in 2003) has signalled that it will be re-entering the competition this year through local partners. Livefist learns that Bell Helicopter and an Indian partner will field the Bell 407GT in the new RSH contest.

B.S. Singhdeo, Managing Director, Bell India tells Livefist, "We are not prepared to discuss the details of the RSH; however Bell Helicopter is committed to the India and we are highly interested in the program.  Bell Helicopter has the right products to meet the future needs of India’s military."


The 407GT is a militarised version of Bell's 407GX, featuring the Garmin G1000H™ flight deck. Your correspondent was invited to fly in a 407GX at Aero India last month in Bengaluru in which a senior IAF pilot was at the controls for a 20-minute demo flight.

Bell reportedly withdrew from the original competition in 2006 after it was informed that the 407 hadn't satisfactorily demonstrated the three-axis vector maneouver during field evaluation trials. The competition went into the ground a year later when a complaint by Bell on the trials compelled the government to scrap a potential decision to award the contest to Eurocopter. The fresh contest sees another possible face-off between Bell and Airbus.


"In November 2014, Bell Helicopter established Dynamatic Technologies Ltd. as a single source supplier of major airframe cabin assemblies for the Bell 407GX and 407GT.  During Aero India, Dynamatic handed over first articles of these aerostructures.  Bell Helicopter continues to evaluate potential partners in India to support our local manufacturing footprint," says Singhdeo.


And AgustaWestland? The government's 2014 guidelines on 'dealing with Finmeccanica group of companies in all procurement cases', issued following the VVIP AW101 helicopter controversy, suggest that the light helicopter competition is open to AgustaWestland. It is not clear at this time if AgustaWestland has or will respond (through a partner, of course) to the new 'Make in India' RFI with its AW119 Koala, the platform it fielded in the second abortive procurement attempt.

The MoD has extended its deadline for interest from vendors three times since November last year, actions that speak loud about a desire perhaps for maximum participation. The truth is, two successive aborts have brought with them a measure of damage to confidence in India's ability to see crucial acquisition programmes through. The MoD sees the the light helicopter competition as a fairly uncompl

In a separate but related development, Airbus Helicopter has informed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (which license builds Alouette-II/IIIs in India) that its inventory of rotor blade kits for the Cheetah and Chetak have been exhausted, and that a previous order will necessarily be the last one.

As Livefist reported recently, the other side the light copter modernisation effort is seeing forward movement too, with HAL's LUH scheduled for a first flight soon.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
photo USMC

photo USMC


7 April 2014 by Jon Hemmerdinger – FG


Washington DC - The US military continues talks with potential foreign buyers of Bell Boeing's V-22 Osprey as the service works to decrease the tiltrotor's costs.


US Marine Corps Col Daniel Robinson, manager of the V-22 joint programme office, tells reporters that the service is getting closer to securing a contract to sell V-22s to Israel, and says the military has a team of negotiators in that country working on a deal.


He adds that up to one dozen other countries have shown significant interest in the aircraft, but declines to specify those nations or say how close the military and Bell Boeing are to securing an order.


"Its definitely growing in demand," he says.


Robinson's comments, made during a press briefing at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition near Washington, DC, on 7 April, follow an announcement in January that Israel requested permission from the US Defense Department to buy six V-22s.


Then, in February, at the Heli-Expo, Bell Helicopter chief executive John Garrison said Israel is now interested in acquiring a total of 12 aircraft, six of which would come from existing orders that are assigned to the Marine Corps.


Any order from Israel or another country would help Bell Boeing preserve V-22 sales beyond 2015 and could help keep production alive past 2019.


Robinson notes, however, that the production line has enough capacity in the next few years to handle some new aircraft orders.


Meanwhile, Robinson says the US military continues a rigorous effort to bring down the expense of V-22s, which currently have a flyaway cost of about $72.1 million, according the US Navy's recently-released fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.


Robinson notes that the V-22's cost per flight hour has dropped 25% since 2009 while its readiness has increased 20%.

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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 08:20
Navy releases funds for V-22 procurement





Funding for a second-year procurement of Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force has been executed by the U.S. Navy.


The funding amount is $1.3 billion and covers three aircraft for the Air Force and 19 aircraft for the Marines.


"Since Initial Operating Capability in 2007, V-22s have been answering the nation's call traveling into harm's way," a Navy official said.


"From combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to the recent disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in the Philippines, the V-22 continues to prove itself as a game-changing aircraft. Ospreys enable our Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations to execute missions not possible with conventional aircraft."


The V-22 is a multi-mission, tilt rotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing capability. It has a maximum speed of 316 miles per hour at sea level and a range of 879 miles. A total of 233 V-22 Ospreys are in operation.


The second-year funding comes under a multiyear funding procurement contract for the purchase of a total of 100 V-22s over the next five years.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 08:30
Potential V-22 customers advised to take advantage of slot availability


Nov. 19, 2013 by FG


Dubai - Potential customers for the Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor are being urged to take advantage of spare delivery slots, which will be available during the US government’s next five-year contract for the type.


The Department of Defense’s recently signed second multiyear procurement deal (MYP II) covers the planned manufacture of 100 V-22s for the US Marine Corps and US Air Force through the 2014 to 2019 fiscal years.


“The production profile is declining [from MYP I], and there is spare capacity for FMS [Foreign Military Sales] customers,” says USMC Col Dan Robinson, V-22 joint programme manager.


US defense secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced that Washington is to “expedite” the delivery of six V-22s to the Israeli air force, but Robinson declines to comment on the programme’s current status. Potential additional buyers are not being named, but he confirms: “I think we’ve got 18 or 19 [slots] left on the contract, and the capacity to add for whichever customer comes forward.”


Interest in the Middle East region is being shown in both the Osprey’s core military transport role, and also through its potential to receive a VIP cabin fit, Robinson says. He also hailed the USMC’s performance in deploying 12 MV-22s from Iwakuni in Japan to participate in humanitarian relief efforts mounted in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the Philippines.


Meanwhile, the four MV-22s visiting the show this week completed a roughly 1,500nm (2,770km) self-deployment from a Marine Expeditionary Unit vessel off the coast of east Africa, each being refuelled three times in-flight. “That really demonstrates the versatility of this aircraft,” says Robinson, adding: “Since 2007, it has seen the full spectrum of operations.”

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
V-280 Valor tiltrotor design - source Bell Helicopter

V-280 Valor tiltrotor design - source Bell Helicopter

09.09.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


Lockheed Martin et Bell Helicopter ont conjointement annoncé ce 9 septembre que Lockheed Martin allait intégrer l’équipe de développement du « tiltrotor » V-280 Valor de Bell. D’autres partenaires industriels devraient rejoindre le programme dans les prochains mois, selon le communiqué.


Le V-280 Valor avait été présenté par Bell Helicopter le 10 avril dernier. Le programme de tiltrotor a été développé par l’hélicoptériste dans le cadre de l’appel d’offre Joint Multi Role/Future Vertical Lift présenté en 2011 par l’US Army. L’appareil devrait avoir les caractéristiques suivantes : vitesse de croisière maximale de 280 nœuds (d’où son nom), autonomie de 500 à 80 nautiques et capacité de transport de 15 personnes (équipage de quatre PN compris).


Lockheed Martin et Bell Helicopter sont en concurrence avec Boeing et Sikorsky, qui ont annoncé un partenariat en janvier 2013 pour un appareil basé sur le X2 de Sikorsky.


Le V-280 Valor a été shortlisté par l’US Army en juin, les contrats de ce programme de développement devraient être annoncés d’ici la fin de l’année.

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 16:20
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Deploys Refueling Equipment in Flight Test

Sep 5, 2013 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company


    Additional demonstrations of V-22's refueling capability planned


The Bell Boeing V-22 Program, a strategic alliance between Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. [NYSE: TXT] and Boeing [NYSE: BA], has successfully completed an initial test of the V-22 Osprey performing as an aerial refueling tanker. Adding this capability to the tiltrotor aircraft would further advance its versatility in combat, humanitarian and ship-based operations.


In the August demonstration over north Texas, a V-22 equipped with a prototype aerial refueling system safely deployed, held stable, and retracted the refueling drogue as an F/A-18C and an F/A-18D Hornet flew just behind and to the side of the aircraft.


“Adding aerial refueling tanker capability to the V-22 will enable operators to execute a wider variety of missions with greater flexibility and autonomy,” said Vince Tobin, Bell Boeing V-22 program director. “This will save time and money by maximizing the efficient use of aircraft and personnel.”


Future Bell Boeing tests will put aircraft in a fuel-receiving position directly behind the V-22, connect receiver aircraft with the refueling drogue and, ultimately, refuel a variety of aircraft in flight. The V-22 is a combat-proven tiltrotor that can fly horizontally at high speeds and high altitudes like an airplane, and take off and land vertically like a helicopter.

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10 juillet 2013 3 10 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20

09/07/2013 par Nicolas Laffont – 45eNord.ca


Dans le cadre d’un plan à long terme du Département américain de la Défense, l’US Army a produit une vidéo pour attirer des soumissionnaires et les inciter à repousser les limites de la technologie dans le développement d’un hélicoptère de nouvelle génération et de ses flottes utilisant les rotors basculants.


«J’ai besoin de visionnaires de l’aviation», lance ainsi Bill Lewis, directeur de la Direction du développement de l’aviation de l’armée de terre, dans la vidéo de 7 minutes. «Le seul facteur limitant est votre imagination.»


En réponse à la vidéo, la société Hurst, basée au Texas (et faisant partie de Bell), a produit sa propre vidéo mettant en vedette des acteurs qui défoncent rapidement des portes et «accomplissent leur mission» avec l’aide du V-280 Valor, la version du rotor basculant de Bell pour un avion conjoint multi-rôle.


La production de Bell, mettant en valeur le Valor, commence avec deux enfants jetant leurs cartables pour voir la vidéo. «Chouette appareil du futur» , dit un gamin. «J’ai bien hâte de voler avec ce bad boy.»

Dans les deux vidéos, le thème semble être le pouvoir de transformation de la technologie pour façonner les futures guerres en des jeux de clic de souris dans lesquels les gentils ne meurent jamais, et avec encore moins de sang.


Bell Helicopter, AVX Aircraft Co. et une coentreprise de Boeing Co. et Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. ont d’ores et déjà soumis leur concept à l’armée américaine d’un Démonstrateur de technologie conjoint multi-rôle.


L’armée envisage de prendre une décision initiale sur le démonstrateur en septembre, avec un prototype volant prêt pour 2017.


Les propositions de Bell, AVX et Boeing-Sikorsky pour le Démonstrateur de technologie conjoint multi-rôle ne sont qu’un premier pas dans le plan global du Pentagone annoncé en 2011 d’avoir l’armée prendre l’initiative des prototypes pour remplacer la flotte vieillissante de plus de 4000 hélicoptères dans toutes les armes.


«L’avion de nouvelle génération devra être un ensemble beaucoup moins coûteux à exploiter que la flotte actuelle» et être prêt à entrer sur la ligne de front dans les années 2020, a déclaré le major-général William Crosby, responsable du programme de l’aviation pour l’armée.


«Même avec tout l’excellent travail que nous faisons pour la mise à niveau et le soutien de la flotte actuelle, il est maintenant temps d’investir dans la science et la technologie nécessaires pour développer la future flotte», a dit William Crosby.


«Nous avons encore des plates-formes élévatrices verticales de troisième génération conçues pendant la période de la guerre du Vietnam, il y a près de 50 ans», a-t-il dit. «Notre flotte actuelle ne durera pas éternellement et il y a des limites à notre capacité d’améliorer les modèles actuels pour répondre aux besoins futurs.»

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17 juin 2013 1 17 /06 /juin /2013 21:30
Bell sélectionné pour la suite du programme JMR

17/06/2013 Par Gabrielle Carpel - air-cosmos.com


Keith Flail, directeur de programme VLT militaire chez Bell, est confiant quant à la suite de son V-280, récemment sélectionné pour la première phase du programme JMR (Joint Multi-Role).


« En terme de coût total, nous faisons une énorme différence par rapport aux concurrents. Quand on parle de prix, il y a bien sûr le coût de l’appareil mais aussi les coûts d’opération. Notre V280 peut par exemple couvrir deux fois plus de champ de bataille que la flotte actuelle »


Avec ce programme, l’armée américaine cherche des hélicoptère de classe moyenne, capable d’atteindre une vitesse d’au moins 426km/h tout en gardant une grande manœuvrabilité. Le V280 de Bell a été sélectionné pour la suite en « offre de catégorie 1 », tout comme Boeing et Sikorsky qui ont présenté un dérivé du démonstrateur X2, un appareil avec rotors contrarotatifs.


Bell propose lui un titlrotor, la troisième génération de ce type d’appareil. Coté financement, l’hélicoptériste annonce être en discussion avec l’armée américaine pour diviser les frais d’investissement.

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