Tag Archives: Platform

AIR5428 Platform Selected for UK Military Flying Training System‏

By on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

BAE Systems Air5428 pilot training platform, Beechcraft’s T-6C military trainer, will be used to train the next generation of United Kingdom military pilots.

On behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence, the Ascent consortium recently selected the Beechcraft T-6C as the aircraft to complement the BAE Systems Hawk T2 in the training pipeline to conduct fixed wing flight training for the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Navy (RN) and Army Air Corp pilots.

The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy now join the United States Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force as operators of the Beechcraft T-6C which will be used to train pilots in readiness for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) recently took delivery of its fleet of T-6C aircraft and has commenced the transition of this platform into training operations. As testament to the pedigree of the T-6C’s design, the NZDF has already extended the planned life of type for their fleet beyond the required 20 years out to 30 years.

27 Air Forces globally now depend on the T-6C to graduate in excess of 2,250 pilots each year. In addition, four of the ‘Five Eyes’ nations (UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) are now operating the Beechcraft T-6 military trainer in their undergraduate pilot training systems.

Beechcraft’s T-6C has been put forward as the platform of choice for BAE Systems Australia’s Air5428 bid to support the Australian Defence Force’s future pilot training system.

BAE Systems Director Aerospace, Steve Drury, said: “We believe only one aircraft is an ideal fit for both the basic and advanced training phases, and that is Beechcraft’s T6-C. Our confidence in this has been reinforced by the UK’s selection of the T-6C as the trainer of choice for their next generation of pilots.”

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Northrop Delivers Platform Management System for UK Royal Navy’s Astute Submarine

Northrop Grumman has supplied the final batch of Platform Management System (PMS) hardware for the Royal Navy’s Astute-class series’ boat 5 submarine.

Under a performance partnering arrangement, Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine business unit supplied the PMS to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines for installation on Astute Boat 5, Anson, at its shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, U.K. The PMS equipment controls and monitors the submarine’s platform machinery and onboard systems.

“Northrop Grumman has a well established relationship with the Royal Navy, supplying and supporting systems for surface ships and submarines,” said Andrew Tyler, chief executive U.K. and Europe, Northrop Grumman.

“The continued success of our involvement in the Astute programme is a reflection of the skill of our teams and the close partnership that we have with BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence.”

Additionally, Northrop Grumman is currently under contract to supply PMS hardware and software for Astute Boat 4 (Audacious) and the forthcoming Astute boats 6 and 7, which will be the Royal Navy’s newest nuclear-powered submarines.

“Our extensive track record of delivering reliable, high-performance navigation and ship control solutions has helped to establish us as a preferred supplier for Royal Navy platforms,” said Alan Dix, managing director of Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine.

“We are particularly pleased that we have achieved 100 percent on-time delivery status during the two-year process for Astute Boat 5.”

Based on Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine’s innovative approach to configuring commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software to meet exacting military and commercial applications, the PMS is expected to reduce life cycle costs and minimize program risk for the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

The system will provide an advanced network design that includes the stringent levels of safety and redundancy associated with nuclear submarine control systems.

Also, the Platform Management System is expandable and versatile due to an open architecture design that allows interfacing with third-party equipment via standard field-bus technology.

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India Tests BrahMos Missile Launch From an Underwater Platform

Brahmos first submarine launched March 20, 2013

Brahmos first submarine launched March 20, 2013

India successfully carried out the maiden test firing of a submarine-launched BrahMos missile, lunching the 290 km-range supersonic missile over a test range in the Bay of Bengal. India is the first country to demonstrate such capability. The missile was fired from a submerged ponton simulating a submarine launcher. Ship and ground-launched versions of the missile have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and the Navy.

“BrahMos missile is fully ready for fitment in submarines in vertical launch configuration which will make the platform one of the most powerful weapon platforms in the world,” BrahMos company chairman Sivathanu Pillai said. Submarines having vertical launch tubes are not yet available with the Indian Navy. The first submarine, INS Arihant is expected to enter sea trials this year (2013) and, following commissioning, will provide a launch testing platform for three missiles – K15, BrahMos and Nirbhai cruise missile. The first of three Arihant class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) was originally scheduled to be commissioned in 2013, to be followed by two sister ships thereafter.

The maiden test of the submarine-launched version of BrahMos comes over a week after the indigenously built long-range subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay failed to hit its target in its first test.

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Raytheon to integrate Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) on Remotely Piloted Aircraft platform


MALD decoy carried on an F-16. Photo: Raytheon

Raytheon and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) are working together to equip GA-ASI’s Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) with Raytheon’s ADM-160A Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD), developing unmanned, autonomous launch platform for electronic warfare decoys employed in Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) missions.

The team has completed ground verification test phase in November 2012, loading MALDs on Reapers at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., The integration of MALD on the aircraft is estimated to conclude in 2013.

“This new offering provides unprecedented electronic warfare capability enabling remote, unmanned suppression of enemy air defenses,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. “Integrating MALD weaponry on remotely piloted aircraft systems is integral to maintaining air superiority in today’s and tomorrow’s conflicts.”

When employed, MALD confuses the target integrated air defense system (IADS), and then kinetic weaponry is selectively employed to permanently disable IADS nodes, dramatically increasing electronic attack persistence in the battlespace.

mald_picMALD weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. Various types of MALD are in service, including the passive decoy, programmed to mimic the signature of various aircraft and jammer-equipped decoys (MALD-J), loaded with jammers to carry out stand-in jamming of enemy radars. This version was first delivered to the US Air Force in September 2012; operational testing of this decoy are currently underway.

It is currently deployed with manned aircraft, primarily B-52, and F-16. Integration of MALD with the US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is currently underway. In 2011 Raytheon also demonstrated how MALDs can be deployed from the C-130, using the MALD Cargo Aircraft Launch System (MCALS).

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A330 MRTT Selected for India’s Next Aerial Refueling Platform

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Airbus Military has confirmed that it has been selected by the Government of India as the preferred bidder to supply its A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF plans to buy 12 additional tankers – six will apparently be the A330 and the remaining six could be either A330 or IL78 (which lost the current competition). Detailed negotiations will now begin which it is expected will lead to the award of a final production contract for an envisaged six aircraft in 2013.

India´s selection of the A330 MRTT makes it the fifth nation to commit to the type following Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK, which have ordered a total of 28 aircraft. It was the second time India selected the A330 – the former tender in 2006 was cancelled after disagreement between the IAF and the Indian Finance Ministry.


The MRTT can be equipped with the aerial refuelling boom System (ARBS) developed by Airbus Military (seen above) or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, plus an optional fuselage refueling unit, enabling simultaneous refueling of up to three fighter aircraft. Photo: Airbus Military

The decision was formally announced this week, followed the unofficial announcement of Airbus as Lowest Bidder (L1) on the tender in November 2012. Although the base price of the competing IL78 was lower, the A330 proved to be more efficient and lower cost in terms of total life cycle support spending. According to the IAF, the twin-engine A330 outperforms the four-engine Russian IL-78, offering more economical high altitude cruising, which significantly lowers its operating cost. The estimated value of the A330 MRTT program  could exceed US$2 billion. The IAF evaluated the aircraft performance through extensive flight demonstrations in India, where the MRTT refuelled multiple types of IAF fighters and operated from the high-altitude IAF base at Leh.

The A330 MRTT is provides a large and efficient platform for aerial refueling and military transport. Derived from the successful A330-200 airliner the aircraft has an internal fuel capacity of 111 tons (245,000 lb). The aircraft is offered with a choice of air-to-air refueling systems, including an advanced aerial refueling Boom System developed by Airbus Military and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, plus an optional fuselage refueling unit, enabling simultaneous refueling of up to three fighter aircraft.

The A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft, carrying 300 troops or a payload of up to 45 ton (99,000 lbs). It can also be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for medical evacuation. The tankers will operate from the Panagarh Air Base in the eastern state of West Bengal, supporting Su-30MKI fighter jets, extending their operational range well beyond the Himalayas.


In its secondary transport role the A330 MRTT can support disaster relief or military operations, carrying 45 tons of supplies, 300 troops or 130 stretchers on medical transport missions. Photo: Australian Defence

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New F-16 software platform to be tested by 40th, 85th

By on Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Developmental testing for an F-16 operational flight program will be accomplished at the 40th Flight Test Squadron and 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron here for the first time.

The testing for Block 40 and 50 model F-16s is scheduled to begin in 2014 and will also be the first time developmental testing and operational testing of the OFP will be conducted at the same base.

“This not only gives DT and OT pilots the unique opportunity for daily face-to-face contact to discuss potential test issues, but also allows OT pilots to participate in DT missions alongside their counterparts,” said Beau Booth, the F-16 M7 OFP project specialist for the 40th Flight Test Squadron.

An OFP is the software in the F-16 that controls the avionics and allows the jet to interface with external weapons. It is currently in the design-try-out phase here. This phase is primarily to help the software developers.

“In the DTO phase, a few early versions of the software, with limited subsets of the planned new capabilities, are flight-tested to ensure basic functionality so the software engineers can easily make any fundamental changes before they get too far into the coding,” said Booth.

This takes on a greater importance with this new OFP because it’s the first time an Air Force unit has developed the software. Previous F-16 OFP updates were created by Lockheed-Martin, but the 309th Software Maintenance Group from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the developer for this iteration.

Previous DTO phases had a limited number of sorties due to resources and test objectives.

“While this approach is adequate, it results in a relatively small number of opportunities to find potential errors,” said Booth. “Since there are multiple ways to execute most tasks in the F-16, there are a lot of potential combinations of pilot actions. DT does not have the resources to test.”

This was not the case with this DTO phase, however, since both OT and DT pilots were available to participate. To date, the combined test team has flown 41 test sorties. The previous F-16 OFP DTO included only 13 test sorties.

“The ability to conduct a fully integrated DT/OT test program allows us to test new OFPs more thoroughly and field them faster and cheaper than ever before,” said Booth.

Historically, even though an OFP passes DT, OT pilots would find new software errors due to the amount of flight time and pilot availability. The added use of OT resources increases the potential of finding anomalies in the software. It also gives OT pilots, who are ultimately responsible for the final fielding recommendation, a chance to evaluate the software development early. OT’s upfront involvement cuts down on any late software changes. It also avoids the associated extra test requirements, increased costs and fielding delays that could happen.

Although this F-16 OFP partnership is a new endeavor for the squadrons, the 40th and 85th are frequent collaborators in developmental and operational testing. They are even headquartered in the same building for additional functionality.

“In these fiscally constrained times, the 40th and 85th are setting the benchmark on how to perform integrated test,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Seymour, the 85th TES commander. “Being collocated is the key. This allows us to share aircraft, infrastructure, aircrew and ideas, which results in more effective and efficient test and a better end product for the warfighter.”

This new software package will be incorporated in all active-duty F-16s and many Reserve aircraft.

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Navy’s First Mobile Landing Platform Launched

By on Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The first ship of the Navy’s new Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) class launched Nov. 13, less than two years since the start of fabrication at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

Designed to provide logistics movement from sea to shore, the new class of ships will provide the Navy with a dedicated seabasing capability.

The future USNS Montford Point (MLP 1) will be the lead ship of the class. The name honors the African American Marines who trained at the Montford Point, N.C., facility during World War II and prompted President Harry Truman to sign an executive order ending segregation in the U.S. military.

Thought of as a “pier in the ocean,” the capabilities provided by the MLP class will serve as the centerpiece of the Navy’s seabasing strategy. The ships will operate within Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadrons to provide the Navy with the capability to transfer vehicles and equipment at sea and to interface with surface connectors to deliver the vehicles and equipment ashore. The ability to establish support facilities at sea assures U.S. military forces access to areas previously denied.

Using the commercially designed Alaska-class crude oil carrier as its base, the Navy’s Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Office (PMS 385) worked in conjunction with NASSCO to develop a design that supported the Navy’s core capabilities while maintaining low costs.

“Working in partnership with NASSCO early in the design phase allowed us to execute an aggressive construction schedule that has stayed under budget,” said Capt. Henry Stevens, PMS 385 program manager. Even working from a preexisting design, the low rework rates have been remarkable for a first-in-class ship.”

The ship will leverage float-on/float-off technology, which will allow the ship to be partially submerged facilitating easy movement of cargo and craft. Additionally, the ship’s size allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage.

With this set of capabilities, the ship will be able to easily transfer personnel and vehicles from other vessels such as the large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSRs) onto landing craft air cushioned (LCAC) vehicles and transport them ashore. The MLP capability will serve as an important flexible and transformational asset to the Navy as it can be reconfigured to support a wide variety of future operations.

MLPs will have a maximum speed of 15 knots and range of 9,500 nautical miles. At 785 feet long, MLPs displace over 80,000 tons when fully loaded. MLPs will operate with a crew of 34 Military Sealift Command personnel.

Montford Point will be christened in the spring by Jackie Bolden, the wife of current NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden. The ship is expected to be fully operational by fiscal year 2015.

NASSCO is also under contract for the construction of the future USNS John Glenn (MLP 2) and the future USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3). Both ships recognize decorated U.S. Marine Corps veterans.

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