Northrop Grumman's Firebird Successfully Uses Three Eyes and Fourth Sensor Payload (w/video)

miércoles, 15 de junio de 2011

ntelligence-Gathering Sensors Can be Installed, Used in Matter of Minutes

SAN DIEGO, June 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) Firebird intelligence-gathering air system successfully used three different high-definition video sensors and an electronics support payload all at the same time – a future capability sought by the U.S. military that's available today.

The flight marks the first time three electro-optical, infrared sensors have been used simultaneously with a fourth payload on an aircraft. This capability was proven on May 20 at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., with additional missions through June 3 as part of the U.S. Joint Forces Command's Empire Challenge 2011 exercise.

"Firebird's universal interface is what makes this all possible," said Rick Crooks, director of special projects and Firebird program manager for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "It's very similar to plugging a memory stick into a computer – it's automatically recognized without needing to load new software. With this 'plug-and-play' technology we can place many different sensors on Firebird and operate them in a matter of minutes."

Crooks explained that this capability is important to warfighters because it significantly reduces the time needed to replace sensors so they can ready Firebird quickly for different missions. The flight team can install the three high-definition full-motion video (HD FMV) sensors along with a communications payload in less than an hour.

During Empire Challenge, the Firebird team also showed how real-time HD video could be sent to different locations including a ground control station, remote terminals, a tablet computer and a cellular phone. Control of the sensors was done independently through the ground station and remote terminals.

"Not only can soldiers on the ground and aircraft crews see the video and data, but they also control the sensors independently," said Crooks. "This two-way control really puts the power of Firebird's systems in their hands. By being able to go through a remote terminal or a cellular phone, we've made it possible for soldiers on the front-line to more effectively use these systems to gain the edge they need."

The three HD FMV sensors were supplied by FLIR Systems, with the fourth payload being the Northrop Grumman-produced Common Signals Intelligence System 1500 that provided an electronics support and direction finding capability.                

The team was able to switch between eight different sensors during the exercise. To date, Firebird has used 15 different intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads.

Northrop Grumman leads the Firebird program with teammate Scaled Composites – the aircraft innovation firm founded by famed engineer Burt Rutan who designed SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded spacecraft.

Firebird was intentionally designed to be flown as a manned or unmanned air system. It can be easily modified for both flight modes.

Northrop Grumman Corporation, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Allied Holdings, Inc., acquired Scaled Composites in 2007. Reporting into the corporation's Aerospace Systems Advanced Programs and Technology division, Scaled Composites operates as a separate company supporting Northrop Grumman and other customers.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.



Boeing to Build 10 C-17 Airlifters for Indian Air Force

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 15, 2011 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that India's Ministry of Defence has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters. The Foreign Military Sale -- approved by the U.S. Congress in May 2010 -- establishes India as the C-17's largest international customer.

According to the agreement, India will take delivery of its C-17s in 2013 and 2014.

"The C-17 will elevate India's leadership in the region," said Dinesh Keskar, president, Boeing India. "With its tactical and strategic capabilities, the C-17 fulfills India's needs for military and humanitarian airlift. The important transaction reaffirms our close relationship of several decades with India and also highlights our commitment to the strategic partnership between the two countries."

"This agreement is a reflection of the outstanding partnership India's Ministry of Defence has with the U.S. Air Force, which worked very hard to help India strengthen its airlift capabilities with the C-17," said Jean Chamberlin, vice president and general manager, Boeing Mobility. "The aircraft's ability to transport large payloads across vast ranges, land on short, austere runways, and operate in extremely hot and cold climates makes it ideal for the region."

Boeing will support India's C-17 fleet through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a proven multinational Performance-Based Logistics program. The GSP "virtual fleet" arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers -- with varied fleet sizes -- access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale when purchasing materials.

"Boeing is pleased that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has selected the C-17 to support its airlift mission," said Mark Kronenberg, vice president of International Business Development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "We look forward to partnering with India as we move forward with the agreement's 30 percent offset program, which will help strengthen India's aerospace and defense capabilities."

During rigorous field evaluation trials in India in June 2010, the C-17 met all of the IAF's airlift requirements.

A tactical and strategic airlifter, the C-17 can land combat-ready troops in remote locations or airdrop them directly where needed. The C-17's ability to back up allows it to operate on narrow taxiways and congested ramps. With a maximum payload of 164,900 pounds (74,797 kg), the C-17 can take off and land in 3,000 feet (914.4 m) or less.

Boeing has delivered 232 C-17s worldwide, including 22 with international customers. The U.S. Air Force -- including active National Guard and Reserve units -- has taken delivery of 210 C-17s. Other customers include the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations, and the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence.

Boeing, the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined, has significantly expanded its footprint in India both in the civil aviation and defense market. Boeing is partnering with India's leading technology and manufacturing companies to build a supply chain out of India. The company also has opened a Research and Technology center in Bengaluru to collaborate with India's technical talent for research in aero structures, materials and network systems. Boeing India's corporate office is located in New Delhi. For more information on Boeing India, visit



Boeing to Make Job Reductions at Wichita Facility

Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades reductions to occur through 2011

WICHITA, Kan., June 14, 2011 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced a reduction of approximately 225 jobs at Boeing Defense, Space & Security's Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades (MM&U) facility in Wichita. The reductions are a result of some Wichita programs coming to an end and other adjustments in aircraft maintenance cycles.

"This reduction of positions is necessary to help our business reduce cost and improve productivity," said Mark Bass, MM&U vice president and general manager. "Our goal is to remain affordable and competitive, and ensure future growth in the airplane modification business in Wichita."

The reductions will take place through the remainder of this year through layoffs, normal attrition and placements elsewhere within the company. The first phase of notices will be sent to approximately 60 employees on June 17.

Boeing Human Resources professionals will help displaced workers with resume writing, interviewing, and other job-hunting assistance.

The Boeing Defense, Space & Security facility in Wichita specializes in modifying commercial derivative aircraft for military or government operations. Boeing Global Transport & Executive Systems (GTES) is headquartered in Wichita, with major operations in Oklahoma City and the Puget Sound area of Washington state. GTES supports all Boeing aircraft in the U.S. Air Force's executive fleet, including C-32A and C-40B/C, as well as the National Command Authority's E-4B and the U.S. Navy's C-40A and E-6B. The facility also provides engineering and repairs for the B-52H, modification support for the International 767 program, and engineering for the KC-46 Tanker.



[video] A400M Air Refueling

A400M Air Refueling from on Vimeo.
06/02/2011: The A400M can both be refueled in the air and function, itself as an air tanker. This will allow it to be a key part of any task force. As Pablo Quesada Ramos, Head of Market Development, MRTT and other Airbus platforms derivatives, noted in an interview:The A400M can be a tanker as well, which can allow an interesting combination of tactical and strategic refueling capabilities over a long distance, which can then operate at low altitudes via the A400M to refuel tactical assets. In terms of complementarity with the A400M; the A400M is easily configured to refuel a wide range of types from helicopters to fighters, and by taking advantage of the great stability it provides in flight, it is a very effective tanker for lower altitude refueling to the last tactical mile – from a forward operating base, for instance.

In terms of transport, the complementarity of the A400M and A330MRTT is also clear. The A400M is a superb transport aircraft, which combines tactical and strategic capabilities in a single aircraft. It could be effectively used in long-range deployment missions either with refueling or with stopovers. But the combination of the operation of the A330MRTT with its true multiple capabilities, plus the tactical capabilities of the A400M will provide a very effective insertion force for either humanitarian or military operations. Although, either one of them in isolation is also able to fulfill the kind of missions that you are mentioning, the combination of the tactical features of the A400M or the strategic and global reach of the A330 MRTT, could allow one to craft an extremely capable task force.

Video Credit: Airbus Military: 2011


Paris Air Show Video Report: A400M


Paris Air Show Video Report: F-35

Paris Air Show Video Report: F-35


Intelligent interiors replace class system for a bespoke flying experience


Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus, in advance of the Paris Airshow "Le Bourget", today invited the passengers of 2050 to discover its Concept Cabin - a whole new flying experience inspired by nature.
Personalised zones replace traditional cabin classes to offer tailored levels of experience. While taking a hop between destinations, according to Airbus, passengers in 2050 could join an interactive conference; enjoy a game of virtual golf; read the kids back home a bedtime story; and recharge in a 'vitalising seat' whilst watching the planet spread out beneath their feet.

This latest instalment of The Future by Airbus – a vision of aviation in 2050 – follows last year's unveiling of the revolutionary Airbus Concept Plane, packed with technologies to reduce fuel burn, emissions, waste and noise. The Airbus Concept Cabin now gives further insight into some of the innovations and technologies that will shape future passenger experiences on board.

The aircraft's bionic structure mimics the efficiency of bird bone which is optimised to provide strength where needed, and allows for an intelligent cabin wall membrane which controls air temperature and can become transparent to give passengers open panoramic views.

The Concept Cabin has an integrated 'neural network' creating an intelligent interface between passenger and plane. It can identify and respond to passenger needs and enables bespoke features such as morphing seats which change to your body shape.

New personalised zones replace the traditional cabin classes in the Airbus Concept Cabin to offer new tailored levels of experience. The "vitalising zone" is all about wellbeing and relaxation allowing you to proactively recharge your batteries with vitamin and antioxidant enriched air, mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments whilst taking in the infinite view of the world around you.

There are no limits to the kinds of social scenarios in the centre zone of the concept cabin – the "interactive zone". The virtual pop up projections in this area can transform you to whichever social scene you want to be in, from holographic gaming to virtual changing rooms for active shoppers.

The "smart tech zone" is tailored towards the more functional oriented passenger with a chameleon style offering, to meet individual needs ranging from a simple to a complete luxury service, but all allowing you to continue life as if on the ground. By offering different levels of experience within each zone, airlines would be able to achieve price differentials and give more people access to the benefits of air travel with minimal environmental impact.

Showcasing the innovative interior design, Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering, said: "Our research shows that passengers of 2050 will expect a seamless travel experience while also caring for the environment. The Airbus Concept Cabin is designed with that in mind, and shows that the journey can be as much a voyage of discovery as the destination. Whichever flight experience is chosen, the passenger of 2050 will step out of the Airbus Concept Cabin feeling revitalised and enriched."

More than 90 percent of Airbus' annual research & development investment of over €2 billion has environmental benefits for current and future aircraft. For example, due to advances in technologies the concept cabin will be 100% recyclable. It will have self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibres which reduce waste and maintenance and will harvest passenger body heat to power cabin features.
Such technologies are already being developed and, while they may not be seen in the exact same manner as in the Airbus Concept Plane and Cabin, some of them could feature in future Airbus aircraft programmes.
Visitors to Le Bourget International Airshow in Paris will also be able to experience the Airbus' Future of Flight film, a 360 planetarium movie – a vision of the transformations in air transport between now and the middle of the century which not only focuses on aircraft designs and innovations, but also addresses passenger expectations. The movie will be part of the planetarium's programme at the Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace from 20 – 26 June.



Eurocopter innovation takes to the skies at this month’s Paris Air Show: the X3 hybrid demonstrator and EC175 will make their public flight debut

Eurocopter's commitment to innovation will be showcased at the 2011 Paris Air Show, where the company's high-profile participation is to include the first public flight presentations of its X3 hybrid demonstrator and the new EC175 helicopter.

The Eurocopter presence at Le Bourget Airport also will comprise displays of its enhanced EC145 T2 and AS350 B3e helicopters; an AS565 Panther outfitted with the Stand Alone Weapon System (SAWS); the EC135 configured for law enforcement and customs missions; and a version of the EC175 tailored for search and rescue operations.

"Eurocopter applies innovation every day in expanding the boundaries of flight, and the X3 is an excellent example of how we are preparing for the future," said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter's President & CEO. "I am sure that professional visitors and the public alike will be impressed by the X3's extraordinary flight demonstrations at this year's Paris Air Show, which are unequalled in aviation."

The X3 demonstrator is powered by a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers on short-span fixed wings – a combination that delivers excellent vertical takeoff and landing capabilitiesof a helicopter, along with aircraft-type fast cruise speeds and maneuverability.

Eurocopter anticipates a wide range of utilizations for the X3 hybrid helicopter concept, includinglong-distance search and rescue (SAR) missions, coast guard duties, border patrol missions,passenger transport, offshore operations and inter-city shuttle services.

Also taking part in the Paris Air Show's daily flight program is the EC175, which is being developed by Eurocopter in a joint program with China. This multi-role helicopter is in the seven-metric-ton weight category, fitting into Eurocopter's product range between its AS365 Dauphin and the AS332/EC225 Super Puma aircraft families. The EC175 benefits from a mix of proven and advanced technologies, providing excellent performance and reliability.

The EC175 presented at Le Bourget is one of two helicopters in the flight test and development program, which foresees the rotary-wing aircraft's certification during the second half of 2011 for deliveries beginning in 2012.

In the Paris Air Show's static display area, Eurocopter's exhibits of its enhanced EC145 T2, AS350 B3e and AS565 MBe represent the evolution strategy being implemented across its product line for improved operating performance, efficiency and maintainability.

The EC145 T2 incorporates new Arriel 2E engines, along with Eurocopter's Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, an innovative new digital avionics suite and a 4-axis autopilot.

For Eurocopter's best-selling Ecureuil family, the improved AS350 B3e version is equipped with a more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine, along with a new-generation digital FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) and an engine data recorder for condition monitoring.

The enhanced AS565 MBe, which offers improved hot and high performance for the Panther helicopter family, will be exhibited at Le Bourget equipped with the Stand Alone Weapon System (SAWS). SAWS is developed by Eurocopter and ATE, with this flexible and adaptable weapons system incorporating mission and targeting systems, two multi-purpose weapon pylons with slaving units, and a choice of weapons loads that includes guns, unguided and guided rockets and missiles.

A special Paris Air Show event is planned by Eurocopter on June 23 to celebrate the three decades of operating excellence with its Ecureuil/AStar helicopter family. Achievements of this product line include more than 5,000 aircraft deliveries, 21 million-plus flight hours, over 1,400 operators worldwide, and flight milestones such as the highest elevation landing on Mount Everest. The event at Le Bourget Airport will provide the opportunity to celebrate new Ecureuil/AStar sales signed at the Paris Air Show, as well as Eurocopter's first customer delivery of a serial-produced AS350 B3e.