06.07.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 6 July 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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During a recent flight test, Raytheon successfully demonstrated breakthrough antenna technology that dramatically improves and delivers on the next generation of airborne communications for wide-body aircraft. The Advanced Multiband Communication Antenna System (AMCAS), developed for the U.S. Air Force, is an extremely low-profile antenna that significantly reduces drag on an aircraft. Attaching to the aircraft skin, the antenna extends 8 1/2 inches. This solution, which simplifies installation and minimizes time out of service, is an affordable alternative to today's antennas, which require more extensive and complex installations and extend considerably farther from the aircraft's fuselage. During the test, the AMCAS antenna, which is being evaluated for use with the Family of Advanced line-of-sight Terminals, communicated with the Milstar satellite's medium data rate waveform. FAB-T is the Air Force's next-generation communications system.
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MBDA Incorporated announced the successful demonstration of a Semi-Active Laser Guided Zuni rocket at the Navy�fs test facilities at China Lake, CA. utilizing the WGU-58/B Guidance and Control System developed in cooperation with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD). Jim Pennock, Vice President of Guided Rocket Sector Business Development at MBDA Incorporated said �gThe WGU-58/B Guidance and Control system performed as predicted. We developed this capability in response to a U.S. Marine Corps need for a forward-firing, low-cost, semi-active laser guided weapon capable of accurately engaging fixed and moving targets in close proximity to friendly forces, while allowing firing aircraft to remain outside the threat envelope.�g
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NASA and Japan released a new digital topographic map of Earth Monday that covers more of our planet than ever before. The map was produced with detailed measurements from NASA's Terra spacecraft. The new global digital elevation model of Earth was created from nearly 1.3 million individual stereo-pair images collected by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, instrument aboard Terra. NASA and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, known as METI, developed the data set. It is available online to users everywhere at no cost. According to Mike Abrams, ASTER science team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the new topographic information will be of value throughout the Earth sciences and has many practical applications. "ASTER's accurate topographic data will be used for engineering, energy exploration, conserving natural resources, environmental management, public works design, firefighting, recreation, geology and city planning, to name just a few areas," Abrams said. Previously, the most complete topographic set of data publicly available was from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. That mission mapped 80 percent of Earth's landmass, between 60 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south. The new ASTER data expands coverage to 99 percent, from 83 degrees north latitude and 83 degrees south. Each elevation measurement point in the new data is 98 feet apart.
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that Porter Airlines of Toronto has placed a firm order for two Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners. The transaction represents the conversion of the last two options of 10 Q400 aircraft which were announced in 2006. Add the airline's original firm order for 10 Q400 aircraft, and today's transaction brings to 20 the number of firm orders placed by Porter.Based on the list price for the Q400 aircraft, the order is valued at approximately $54 million US. Porter Airlines began operations from Toronto City Centre Airport on October 23, 2006, serving Ottawa with 10 daily flights. It has since added Montreal, Halifax, Quebec City, New York/Newark, Chicago/Midway and Thunder Bay to its route network.
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The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $166.9 million contract for Lot 9 production and delivery of the AIM-9X infrared-guided air-to-air missile. The firm-fixed-price contract will provide the U.S. military and its allies with AIM-9X Block I missiles and introduce into the inventory the new AIM-9X Block II captive air training missile (CATM). The contract will provide more than 250 jobs for Raytheon employees and create work for more than 10 major suppliers in eight states. Raytheon has delivered more than 3,600 AIM-9X Block I missiles to eight countries and is on contract to deliver missiles to two additional countries. In 2008 the U.S. Navy test fired the first AIM-9X Block II as part of developmental testing.
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The U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $30 million contract to begin concept development for Space Fence, a system of land-based S-Band radars and supporting operations centers that will detect and report on objects and debris orbiting the Earth. Lockheed Martin was one of three industry teams to receive contracts. The Air Force Materiel Command's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts leads the procurement for Space Fence, which is intended to significantly enhance space situational awareness as legacy systems in the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) are retired. Under the contract, a Lockheed Martin-led industry team will perform prototyping, design, trade studies and analysis of potential system configurations, concluding with a system design review and final prototyping demonstration. The contract also includes site and facility surveys, and planning and development of net-centric approaches to integrate with the existing architecture of the SSN. The remaining effort -- through preliminary design review, system development, deployment and follow-on support -- will be the subject of future competitive procurements. The new system's Initial Operational Capability is scheduled for 2015. The Lockheed Martin-led team, which includes General Dynamics, AT&T and AMEC, has decades of collective experience in space-related programs including sensors, mission-processing, cataloging, orbital mechanics, net-centric communications and facilities. A leader in S-Band radar development and production, with more than 100 operational systems deployed worldwide, Lockheed Martin supports a range of critical space command and control programs and contributes to national-level space-related intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. General Dynamics is an industry-leading developer and provider of mission processing systems and complex antennas and radar structures for space surveillance. AT&T is a leading systems engineering developer of orbital mechanics and astrodynamics for operational space surveillance and space control. AMEC is highly experienced in domestic and international design along with engineering services and construction for the U.S. government.
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KFW IPEX-Bank together with the investment banks of Berlin, IBB, and of the federal state of Brandenburg, ILB, Landesbank Berlin, NORD/LB Norddeutsche Landesbank, DZ BANK and Berliner Volksbank provides EUR 1.4 billion to finance the construction of the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport - BBI. An additional EUR 1.0 billion is being put up by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The infrastructure finance project is currently Europe's largest. The corresponding agreements have been signed in Berlin. KfW IPEX-Bank, which is acting as agent in the banking consortium, is contributing EUR 310 million, as are ILB and IBB. Landesbank Berlin and Nord LB are each putting up EUR 150 million of the financing, DZ BANK is providing EUR 100 million and Berliner Volksbank is contributing EUR 70 million. The tenor of the loan is 10 years. It is secured by a full guarantee of the Federal Republic of Germany and of the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg.
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A Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned Aircraft System (VUAS), designated P7, has successfully completed first flight operations at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. Unlike current Navy configured Fire Scouts, P7 was built in an operational land-based configuration. It is the first MQ-8B to fly without flight test instrumentation normally installed for developmental flights, a clear indication of MQ-8B's system maturity. P7 continues Northrop Grumman's commitment to customers around the globe by building upon the rigorous developmental testing being supported by P6, the first company owned Fire Scout.
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Jet Aviation Singapore has recently expanded its base and line maintenance service offerings to include base maintenance for Bombardier Challenger 601/604/605 and Cessna 560XL aircraft under the company's EASA 145 maintenance approval. Jet Aviation Singapore has added the Bombardier Challenger 601/604/605 and Cessna 560XL aircraft to its maintenance portfolio, under the company's EASA.145.0461 maintenance approval. The list of aircraft serviced by the facility now includes BBJ and Bombardier aircraft (including the Global Express), as well as Cessna and the full range of Gulfstream jets.
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GE Aviation has successfully completed a customer trial of its ClearCore engine wash effluent collection system at London Heathrow Airport on a Virgin Atlantic CF6-80C2-powered 747-400 aircraft. ClearCore is GE Aviation's new engine wash and effluent collection program. It will be offered as either an effluent collection system designed to work with existing front-end wash equipment, or as a complete wash and collection system. In addition, wash optimization and performance recovery tracking can be provided utilizing engine data from GE Aviation's Diagnostics. Customers will be able to choose between an equipment-only option, or a full-service solution offered through select authorized service partners. The trial used a conventional shepherd's hook front-end engine wash system. This method leads to EGTM (exhaust gas temperature margin) improvements of up to 15 degrees. The wash was the first in a series that GE Aviation will provide for Virgin Atlantic as part of an OnPointSM services agreement.
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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced that its Lynx Block 30 Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) radar has completed two successful test flights on a Sky Warrior Block 1 UAS in support of the planned Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) deployment of the first four Sky Warrior aircraft under the U.S. Army Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAS Program. The flights were conducted in March.  Numerous SAR (spot and stripmap) images were taken at various ranges and resolutions via GA-ASI�fs CLAW sensor control and exploitation software in the Army�fs One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS); Change Detection products were calculated and displayed.  In addition, the GMTI mode was used to detect and track moving objects in real-time.
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ILS International Launch Services (ILS) successfully carried the SIRIUS FM-5 satellite into orbit on July 1 on an ILS Proton. This was the third commercial mission of the year for ILS and the fifth successful Proton launch of 2009. ILS has launched the entire SIRIUS three-satellite constellation beginning with the first launch in 2000. The ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 39 at the cosmodrome at 1:10 a.m. local time (3:10 p.m. EDT, 19:10 GMT). After a 9 hour 14 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the SIRIUS FM-5 satellite, weighing over 5.8 metric tons, into geo-transfer orbit. This was the 346th launch for the Proton. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, Russia�fs premier space manufacturer. The SIRIUS FM-5 satellite, located at 96 degrees West, was built on the flight proven Space Systems/Loral 1300 platform and is the fourth satellite in SIRIUS�f constellation, all built by Space Systems/Loral. SIRIUS FM-5 is one of the most powerful satellites constructed with an X-band uplink and an S-band downlink payload. The satellite carries a range of technologies which will allow for highly concentrated transmissions to small, advanced devices.
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After a deployment lasting five years on operations in Afghanistan, the Joint Force Harrier�fs last remaining squadron returned home today, Wednesday 1 July, to their base at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. Personnel from 1(Fighter) Squadron returned to base to be greeted by their families, friends, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Bill Rammell MP, and senior officers from the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. Mr Rammell applauded the efforts of the Harrier Force. He said: �gOver the past five years Joint Force Harrier has played a crucial role in Afghanistan, flying thousands of sorties to provide vital Close Air Support and reconnaissance information. Joint Force Harrier has made a significant and acclaimed contribution to coalition air operations and all those personnel involved can be proud of their many achievements.�g The Joint Force Harriers have now been replaced in Afghanistan by RAF GR4 Tornado aircraft, 12 (Bomber) Squadron ba
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