Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

Versatile. Lethal. Sustainable. Bell Announces 360 Invictus For US Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competition

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Next-generation rotorcraft is designed to provide attack, reconnaissance, and intelligence to shape the tactical environment and deliver operational overmatch in highly complex multi-domain operations

Fort Worth, Texas (October 2, 2019) – Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has announced a new rotorcraft, Bell 360 Invictus, as the company’s entrant for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. Bell’s innovative approach to designing the Bell 360 Invictus combines proven low-risk technologies with advanced processes to deliver soldiers an affordable, agile and lethal solution to win on the modern battlefield. The Bell 360 Invictus meets or exceeds all requirements as laid out under the FARA contract.

“The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost” said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of Military Business at Bell. “The multi-domain fight will be complex, and our team is delivering a highly capable, low-risk solution to confidently meet operational requirements with a sustainable fleet.”

The Bell 360 Invictus’ design emphasizes exceptional performance using proven technologies to fulfill the Army’s FARA requirements at an affordable cost and on schedule. One example is the Invictus’ rotor system. This design is based on Bell’s 525 Relentless rotor system which has been tested and proven at speeds in excess of 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS). By incorporating proven designs and the best available technologies from commercial and military programs, Bell delivers a low-risk path to a FARA program of record. 

This advanced aircraft will have a transformative impact through next-generation flight performance, increased safety and greater operational readiness—all to deliver decisive capabilities.

Some of the key 360 Invictus features include:

·         Lift-sharing wing to reduce rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling high-speed maneuverability

·         Supplemental Power Unit increases performance during high power demands

·         Robust articulated main rotor with high flapping capability enabling high speed flight

·         Fly-by-wire flight control system—synthesizes technologies, reduces pilot workload and provides a path to autonomous flight

·         Speed: >185 KTAS

·         Combat radius: 135nm with >90 minutes of time on station

·         Achieves 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE)

·         Armed with a 20 mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher with ability to integrate air-launched effects, and future weapons, as well as current inventory of munitions

·         Provisioned for enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies

·         Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) enabled by a Digital Backbone from Collins Aerospace

·         Robust design integrating lifecycle supportability processes early to ensure high OPTEMPO availability in multi-domain operations

·         Design-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread enabled tools to enhance affordability, reliability, and training throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft

“Bell is committed to providing the U.S. Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, least complex, and lowest risk solution among the potential FARA configurations, while meeting all requirements,” said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “360 Invictus is an exciting opportunity for us to continue our support of Army modernization. This is the next solution to ensure soldiers have the best equipment available for the multi-domain fight.”

Bell has decades of experience providing attack and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter, such as the Kiowa Warrior which delivered high reliability and availability through more than 850,000 flight hours. The Bell 360 Invictus design builds from that legacy, Bell’s commercial innovations, and from the success in the development and manufacturing capabilities required for Future Vertical Lift (FVL) as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) over the past six years.

To learn more about Bell 360 Invictus and FVL, please visit our booth at the AUSA Annual meeting (#2124) or www.bellflight.com.

Capewell Aerial Systems Becomes ASU’s Master Distributor

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

August 6, 2019

Meadows of Dan, VA- Capewell Aerial Systems is recognized as a global leader in aviation and life support. We are a respected provider of engineered products for aerial delivery, life support, and tactical gear for military, law enforcement agencies worldwide. Capewell is proud to announce we are the Master Distributor of Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Inc. (ASU) AERONOX NVG Mounts & Battery Packs. Capewell serves designated domestic customers conducting military, law enforcement, and homeland security agencies.

As a forerunner in night vision, ASU’s new AERONOX NVG Mounts & Battery Packs set the standard in aviation. The lightweight reinforced system provides reliable operation under the toughest conditions. Its modular design is easily repairable which further reduces costs over the product’s lifetime. Compatible with a variety of both flight and ground style helmets, this mount is second to none.

Capewell is the proud distributor of the AERONOX NVG Mounts and Battery Packs. Capewell is now accepting orders. These items are in stock and ready to ship. For more information, please contact sales@capewell.com.

Meanwhile, On The International Space Station

Monday, July 29th, 2019

“As an assistant scoutmaster and a father of scouts, it was a pleasure to join the World Scout Jamboree from the International Space Station. The #ScoutJamboree, much like Station, brings out the best of international cooperation and service for something bigger than ourselves!”

COL Andrew Morgan

MC, USA

NASA Astronaut

Flying Cross Honors Army Astronaut on Apollo 11 Anniversary

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Three officers from three different countries (USA, Russia, Italy) united by a mission to space and a duty to serve humanity will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday July 20 at 12:25 p.m. EDT. Unlike the Apollo 11 astronauts who were heading to the moon for the first manned landing on the lunar surface, the crew of Expedition 60 will be heading to the International Space Station.

NASA Astronaut Andrew Morgan of the U.S. Army has been teamed with Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano, an Italian astronaut from the European Space Agency.

Of all the uniforms we’ve ever made, we can’t help but feel especially proud of the one we made for Col. Morgan. It has been a distinct pleasure to have seen Col. Morgan wearing his Army Green Service Uniform in numerous photos leading up to the big launch – when he will swap his AGSU for something a bit more suitable for space travel.

We wish Col. Morgan and his fellow crew-mates a safe launch, a successful mission, and happy landings upon their return to Earth.

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Where will you go in your Army Green Service Uniform? www.GoAGSU.com

SOFWERX – Next Generation PEO-RW Cockpit Capability Collaboration Event

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

USSOCOM PEO-Rotary Wing (RW) is interested in the next generation Special Operations Aviation (SOA) Cockpit. Join subject matter experts to ideate on potential solutions. This event will help participants understand the operational needs of the RW user community.

Focus areas include:
• Controls
• Voice Activation
• Heads Up Eyes Out Display
• Windscreen
• Display
• Communication/ICS
• Operational Flight Program (Operating System)

The event will ensure exposure to any technology that could increase aviator capability from the cockpit.

SOFWERX will hold an event on 16 July 2019 and the RSVP Deadline: 09 July 11:59 PM EST (sic).

For additional details, visit www.sofwerx.org/cockpit.

AFSOC U-28A Aircraft Named “Draco”

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —

After more than 13 years in service, the U-28A intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft officially received approval in May for the naming convention of “Draco”.  

Draco is the Latin term for dragon. Most aircraft commonly have a name after their numerical designation, such as CV-22 Osprey. 

Col. Robert Masaitis, 492nd Special Operations Training Group commander, Draco pilot and former commander of the 34th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, commented on the process of naming the aircraft.

“From my time in the community (2010-2012), we were split between a couple of schools of thought on the official naming of the U-28,” said Masaitis. “Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, the AFSOC commander at the time, had told us we ought to name the aircraft. Between the two, then later three squadron commanders, we could agree that ‘Draco’ was probably the obvious choice. I’m glad to see we’re bringing this initiative to fruition after all this time, as the U-28 has become so much more than the single-engine, non-descript ‘utility’ aircraft we brought into the service over a decade ago.”

The mission of the Draco is to provide manned fixed-wing tactical airborne ISR support to humanitarian operations, search and rescue, conventional and special operations missions.

 “This is fantastic recognition of an aircraft and community,” said Brig. Gen. William Holt, AFSOC special assistant to the commander. “Draco has changed the very fabric of our AFSOC DNA and will continue to be our premier ISR platform for years to come.”

The Draco reached a historic milestone on June 22, 2018, when the AFSOC aircraft reached the 500,000 flying hours mark.

Lt. Col. Chad Anthony, 319th Special Operations Squadron commander, commented on the capabilities of the aircraft.

“Over the battlefields of the global war on terror, Draco has come to mean unparalleled special operations intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, especially to the men and women on the ground in the line of fire,” said Anthony. “Aircrew and special operators who have flown and worked with the Pilatus U-28A have known it as Draco since its first combat deployment in June 2006.”

Maj. Caitlin Reilly, a U-28A Draco pilot and AFSOC director of operations executive officer, commented on the importance of the name approval and the Draco community.

“All of us in the U-28 community today are humbled by the vision and expertise of the U-28A plankholders (the original founders of the program),” said Reilly. “They created something that had never been done before, and it has evolved into an asset that is now one of the ‘minimum force requirements’ of our nation’s elite SOF teams on their ‘no-fail’ missions.”

The Draco is an integral part of AFSOC’s light tactical fixed wing fleet.

Col. Andrew Jett, 492nd Special Operations Wing commander, former 34th SOS commander and Draco pilot, commented on the significance of the name. 

“Our partners may not have known the personal names of the crewmembers, but they always know Draco,” said Jett. “There is a tremendous amount of recognition and respect when a crewmember identifies him or herself as being a member of Draco. I’m thrilled about the exceptional reputation Draco has built over the 13 plus years of the program and it’s now codified as the permanent aircraft name, and is something every member of Draco, past and present, can take pride in.”

Reilly further commented on the pride she and fellow Draco aviators take in the name.

The best thing about the U-28 community, and AFSOC as a whole, is that it is a competency-based organization, she said.

All of the U-28 aircrew are equally proud of the Draco name approval.

Every Air Commando in the U-28A community dedicates themselves to the demanding task of upholding the level of expertise and respect that the name Draco commands, said Reilly. It’s extremely challenging, and we’re all immensely proud of what this name represents.

By SSgt Lynette Rolen, Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

U-28 Photo by photo by A1C Joel Miller

Constellation graphic by Jeff Pendleton

SOFWERX – SOAR Helmet System Capability Assessment Event

Monday, June 10th, 2019

SOFWERX is holding a SOAR Helmet System
Capability Assessment Event
, 13-14 August 2019. The goal is to identify a new, lightweight, low profile Rotary Wing aircrew helmet for use by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment which solves the capability gaps below.

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Helmet system capability gaps include, but are not limited to:
• The proposed helmet system must meet the performance requirements of Section 3.7 of the Purchase Description Aircrew Integrated Helmet System, HGU-56/P (AIHS) dated 1 November 1996, with the updated modifications identified in the Improved Rotary Wing Helmet Technology Readiness Test (TRT) Protocol dated 29 March 2019.
• The helmet system must provide significantly improved head mobility and field of view compared to the existing HGU-56/P. The helmet system must allow the AH/MH-6 Little Bird pilot the ability to visually see the pilot-side skids without having to position his upper body outside of the cockpit.
• In the opinion of the operator, the helmet system must remain comfortable and stable for a minimum of 8 hours of continuous use. This includes when being used in conjunction with a Night Vision Device (NVD), oxygen delivery system, and CBRN mask.
• The helmet system must integrate and still meet the performance requirements when used with the following items
o Aircraft Internal Communications System (ICS) of the AH/MH-6 Little Bird, MH- 60M Blackhawk, and MH-47G Chinook; Objective of a digital headset that is compatible with the digital output of the ICS, and does not require an inner-ear solution (e.g. ear bud)
o AN/PRC-148 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR), AN/PRC-152A Multiband Handheld Radio (MBHHR), and AN/PRC-163 Multi-Channel Handheld Radio (MCHHR)
oAquaLung Portable Helmet Oxygen Delivery System (PHODS) with nasal cannula and full mask option
o M45 Aircrew CBRN mask,Joint Service Aircrew Mask–Rotary Wing (JSAMRW) MPU-5
o Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System – 6 (ANVIS-6) with up to 640 grams of total weight
o FirstSpear Aviation Body Armor Vest
o Elbit Common Helmet Mounted Display(CHMD)
• The helmet system should have the option of an easily attachable/detachable
maxillofacial system that provides environmental and impact protection.
• The system must be designed with snag-free cabling for all items requiring cables.
Cabling and connectors shall be durable and designed for repeated use and flexing.
• The helmet system must be maintainable at the unit level with readily available
replacement parts.

Successful demonstrations may be considered for follow on production awards to replace ~1300 helmets.

Interested parties have until to submit. Visit www.sofwerx.org/helmet for full details.

Now That’s What I Call Aerial Fires

Saturday, May 25th, 2019