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Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

AFSOC Seeks sUAS Group 3 Swarm Carrier Drone Capability

Wednesday, July 24th, 2024

The U.S. Air Force Offensive small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) System Program Office (SPO) has issued a Request for Information to Industry to conduct market research to determine Industry’s ability to provide capabilities supporting the Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) Adaptive Airborne Enterprise (A2E) concept within 24 – 36 months.

What they are after is a Group 3 sUAS capable of internally carrying and deploying Group 2 sUAS equipped with an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) payload. Essentially, a drone capable of being launched from a C-130 which carries and deploys a swarm of even smaller drones.

This is one of three distinct RFIs to be issued that will cover the sUAS platform needs for fielding Adaptive Airborne Enterprise (A2E) capabilities within 24 – 36 months of this RFI.

The SPO intends to release three distinct RFIs, each covering a specific A2E sUAS capability, detailed below. The SPO is seeking Industry responses to help inform how it can provide AFSOC with air-launched sUAS capabilities that integrate Group 2 Air-Launched ISR systems, Group 3 Air-Launched Swarm Carrier systems, and Group 3 Air-Launched Signature Managed systems within the A2E architecture (see Appendix A, Figure 1) while complying with a Modular Open System Approach (MOSA). Specifically, the SPO will be seeking responses for each of the three capabilities below via three separate and distinct RFIs:

• Group 2 ISR – To be internally carried and air-launched via Common Launch Tube (CLT) from a Group 3 Swarm Carrier.

• Group 3 Swarm Carrier – To be deployed from a C-130 as an air-dropped, palletized effect, internally carrying and able to launch Group 2 ISR sUAS from CLTs.

• Group 3 Signature Managed – To be air-launched from a Group 5 system, act as a C2 node in a network/swarm of sUAS and send data from the contested/denied environment to the Joint Force.

Solutions must align with MOSA design principles and be cost-effective for the government. They must also be compatible with an Autonomous Government Referenced Architecture and the software chosen to support that architecture. Finally, solutions must demonstrate a maturity level and production capacity that confidently conveys the ability to deliver scalable quantity within 36 months.

RFI responses are due no later than (NLT) 1700 EST (sic) on August 09, 2024.

Read the details at sam.gov.

All-Electric Fixed-Wing Aircraft Offloads Cargo at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

Wednesday, July 17th, 2024


Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst played a vital role in a historic first cargo flight as part of a demonstration of the ALIA CTOL, a battery-powered fixed-wing aircraft, July 9. The National Aerospace Research and Technology Park (NARTP) in Atlantic City tested the aircraft’s cargo usage by flying a lap pattern from Atlantic City, Dover Air Force Base and JB MDL.

The U.S. Air Force, in a partnership with BETA Technologies, has been instrumental in the development of ALIA. This groundbreaking aircraft, with a range of 250 nautical miles and the capacity to seat up to five passengers, is a testament to the Air Force’s adaptability to new technologies. The Air Force’s interest in the ALIA’s flexible applications further reinforces its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements.

Moving cargo between Dover AFB and JB MDL with the ALIA is advantageous because it saves time and many other valuable resources.

“We can be ready to take off in a matter of minutes, and the battery has a low center of gravity, which is not affected by the way you load the cargo,” said Ross Elkort, BETA Technologies flight test engineer.”

The 305th Maintenance Squadron’s Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory team unloaded 319 pounds of cargo from Dover AFB and loaded 222 pounds to send on a return trip.

Having last-mile cargo delivery handled by a battery-powered fixed-wing is an opportunity to make air mobility safer, cleaner and more cost-effective.

“It brings key innovation to the mission. It’s going to make things faster and simpler,” said Alyxandra Scalone, 305th Maintenance Squadron production controller. “Dover (AFB) is about two and a half hours away from us. Today’s flight only took 45 minutes.”

“An all-electric aircraft like the ALIA is the next evolution of rapid global mobility,” said Zachary White, BETA Technologies team member. “We started working with the AFWERX Agility Prime Program in 2019. We are super excited to be here and supporting Air Mobility Command. Doing different types of missions and flying cargo between bases, it was great to see the flexibility of this aircraft.”

By MSgt Joseph Vigil, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

Engineer Charged with Obstructing a Criminal Investigation into the Cause of the USMC Yanky 72 Plane Crash

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024

OXFORD, MS – A former Robins Air Force Base employee has been arrested for making false statements and obstructing justice during a federal criminal investigation into a 2017 military plane crash that claimed the lives of 16 service members.

On July 10, 2017, a United States Marine Corps KC-130 transport aircraft known as “Yanky 72” crashed near Itta Bena, Mississippi, resulting in the death of fifteen Marines and one Navy Corpsman. On Tuesday morning, JAMES MICHAEL FISHER, formerly of Warner Robins, Georgia and currently residing in Portugal, was arrested on an indictment issued by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Mississippi charging him with obstruction of justice and false statements during a criminal investigation into the cause of that crash.

According to the indictment, FISHER, 67, a former propulsion engineer with the C-130 program office at Robins Air Force Base, engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to avoid scrutiny for his past engineering decisions related to why the crash may have occurred. Specifically, the indictment alleges that FISHER knowingly concealed key engineering documents from criminal investigators and made materially false statements to criminal investigators about his past engineering decisions.

FISHER is charged with two false statements and two obstruction of justice charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge would determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner of the Northern District of Mississippi; and Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) made the announcement.

AFOSI, DCIS, and NCIS are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Leary and Philip Levy are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Mississippi

Two U.S. Army T901 Improved Turbine Engines (ITE) Arrive at Sikorsky for Black Hawk Integration Efforts

Friday, July 5th, 2024

Fundamental to Black Hawk modernization, the new GE Aerospace engine will boost aircraft performance and range

The U.S. Army’s Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) will be integrated into the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. Representatives from the U.S. Army, GE Aerospace and Lockheed Martin gathered to mark the next step in ITE integration on June 27 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company. 

The T901 engine will increase the Black Hawk’s power by 50%, while also improving fuel efficiency, and is a critical component of the roadmap to a modernized Black Hawk – a key part of Lockheed Martin’s 21st Century Security® vision. Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.  

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., June 27, 2024 – Two of the U.S. Army’s T901 Improved Turbine Engines (ITE) arrived at Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), signaling a new phase of Black Hawk® helicopter modernization efforts. The T901 engine, which is manufactured by GE Aerospace, will increase the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter’s performance, including lift capability and range, providing Army commanders more options for planning and executing missions.  

The T901 engine will increase the Black Hawk’s power by 50%, while also improving fuel efficiency and is a critical component of the roadmap to a modernized Black Hawk – a key part of Lockheed Martin’s 21st Century Security® vision. 

“Increased performance and range offered by the T901 are high-value capabilities the Army is able to implement on the Black Hawk in a cost-effective way that will not require expensive re-engineering,” said Hamid Salim, vice president of Army and Air Force Systems at Sikorsky. “The ITEP and other enhancement efforts ensure the Black Hawk remains in operation well into the 2070s, securing its position as the Army’s foundational tactical air assault and utility aircraft of choice.”  

What’s Next 

Sikorsky is positioned to conduct a multi-aircraft test program to support the Army’s ITEP acquisition milestone schedule.  

·      The two T901 engines will be installed in one Black Hawk test aircraft for ground runs and flight testing. 

·      Aircraft hardware is already on hand to accept two additional T901 engines for installation into a second Black Hawk test aircraft, which will accelerate the test program. 

The Army’s Utility Helicopters Project Office (UHPO), Aviation Turbine Engines Project Office (ATE PO), and Sikorsky have completed several key program milestones to prepare for this integration, including: 

·      Successful completion of the H-60M Preliminary Design Review and Critical Design Review. 

·      Software Formal Qualification Testing (FQT) for the Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS) and is on track to complete the Flight Management System FQT this summer. 

·      Receipt and completion of all aircraft test instrumentation required to support the test program. 

·      Receipt of all aircraft “A-kit” hardware required to install two T901s into the H-60M in preparation to execute ground test and flight test.  

“We view this as an extension of the work we’ve completed on ITE with our Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) prototype and are even better positioned for a timely and simplified integration of the engine into the H-60M, due to data and insights we’ve retrieved from successful ITE tests completed to date,” said Salim. 

Sikorsky received, installed, and successfully conducted engine light-off of the T901 engine in the FARA prototype aircraft. The ongoing FARA test program is specifically designed to collect data relevant to the Black Hawk engine integration to support risk reduction for the Black Hawk flight test program. 

A Modernized Black Hawk 

Sikorsky H-60M modernization efforts continue to be primarily focused on ITE, as well as Modular Open Systems Approach/digital backbone and Launched Effects. Digital innovations, such as a new sustainment digital twin, improve safety and mission readiness while reducing costly downtime and unscheduled maintenance.  

For additional information, visit our website:



MATBOCK Monday – New NAVAIR Aviation Vest by MATBOCK

Monday, July 1st, 2024

The MATBOCK Aviation Vest uses a variant of our Ghost Material that is significantly stronger and more durable than traditional fabrics currently used. This variant is FR. This version of the Aviation Kit was specifically designed to meet and exceed all NAVAIR FR standards.

The system weighs 6.5 lbs (2.9kg), compared to a CMU-37/P, which weighs 23.2 lbs (10.5kg), or a CMU-33/A, which weighs 14.4 lbs (6.5kg).

Our vest is well over 1/2 the weight of the current systems and is much more comfortable and user-friendly.

The floatation device will upright an unconscious patient 100% of the time. The pistol holster was designed for left—or right-handed shooters. It also allows the user to adjust the angle of the pistol.

For the lower body, the kit comes with a standalone leg harness system or when integrated with the HAALO belt. Below are both versions.

Here are a few more images showing the front, sides, and back of the MATBOCK Aviation Vest.

Stay tuned for other videos showing the vest, and next time, we will cover other features of the MATBOCK Aviation vest. If you are interested in getting some for your HELO Squadron to test, please reach out to PMA202 or you can reach out to MATBOCK at sales@matbock.com

GA-ASI Employees and Programs Win Seven AIAA Awards

Friday, June 14th, 2024

AIAA San Diego Section Awards Honor GA-ASI’s Outstanding Achievements
SAN DIEGO – 11 June 2024 – Employees and teams from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) were honored with seven awards from the San Diego Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in the categories of lifetime achievement, outstanding aerospace engineering and engineering management, and community support at both the company and individual levels. The awards were presented at an event hosted by AIAA on June 1, 2024. GA-ASI is a leading employer in the San Diego area and manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions.

“I thank AIAA for honoring our relentless pursuit of innovation in aviation, as well as our excellence in program execution and community outreach,” said GA-ASI Engineering Vice President Dee Wilson. “Recognizing the pivotal role that our unmanned systems play in safeguarding national security; these accolades highlight the tremendous dedication and talent of our GA-ASI team.”

AIAA award winners from GA-ASI:

Senior Test Pilot Timothy Just was awarded for Lifetime Achievement. Tim’s career spans over four decades, during which he made unparalleled contributions to aviation and aerospace, including as a professional test pilot where he’s demonstrated exceptional airmanship and proficiency in flying in excess of 200 aircraft types. For GA-ASI, he has flown more than 20 first flights of prototype UAS, and he uses his extensive experience to provide critical input and feedback during the design and early test phases to help ensure that every first flight of a prototype landed successfully. Tim was also one of the first pilots to deploy overseas with the Gnat and Predator®series aircraft, developing tactics and procedures that have contributed to the revolutionary impact UAS have had in aviation. Tim is a three-time member of the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Team and has flown at many air shows, igniting an interest in aviation for an untold number of young men and women.

Owen Nucci, senior program manager for GA-ASI’s Leasing Services, won for Outstanding Contribution to Aerospace Management. Owen led the execution of GA-ASI’s Company Owned, Company Operated (COCO) lease contract to operate MQ-9B SeaGuardian® UAS for the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Through Owen’s leadership, these contracts have broken new ground for UAS operations by flying under a civil authority, under International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Instrument Flight Rules, and in weather conditions that would have grounded previous generation UAS.

GA-ASI’s Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) Development Team, led by Program Manager John Malaney, won for Outstanding Achievement by an Aerospace Organization. The team was responsible for the first flight of the XQ-67A on February 28, 2024. With the flight of XQ-67A, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), GA-ASI validated the “genus/species” concept first developed with AFRL as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS) program focused on building several aircraft variants from a common core chassis. The success of the OBSS Development Team culminated in a new contract award for GA-ASI from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to build production representative flight test articles of the Collaborative Combat Aircraft.

Adam Cooperberg won for Outstanding Contribution to Aerospace Engineering. Adam is the lead engineer of the MQ-9B SeaGuardian platform for GA-ASI, spearheading both development and sustainment activities since the creation of the first SeaGuardian. Adam was central in SeaGuardian’s successful deployment for several customer exercises in 2023, including Northern Edge, Integrated Battle Problem, and Group Sail.

Jay Larkins won for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. Jay is a program manager for the Fleet Deployment Services team at GA-ASI, where he demonstrates unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership skills. In his off hours, Jay operates a pro bono law office where he works to provide legal assistance to low-income and indigent individuals in San Diego.

The General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation was awarded for its Outstanding Corporate Contribution to the Community. The Foundation, led by Lawrence Woolf, has catalyzed and supported employees participating in over 1,100 educational outreach activities and has provided over $250,000 in materials and equipment for schools and programs; granted more than $1 million in support to over 70 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) non-profits; and coordinated remote tutoring of at-risk first graders by more than 135 employees. The Foundation also supports major public outreach events, provides resources for employees who engage in outreach, and has developed many educational resources that are posted on the Foundation web site.

Finally, James McPherson won for Outstanding Contribution to the AIAA San Diego Section. James is GA-ASI’s program manager for U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) programs, and in 2023, James demonstrated exceptional dedication and leadership in advancing the goals of the AIAA within the San Diego community and within GA-ASI. This award follows an AIAA award that James won last year when he was awarded for Outstanding Contributions to Aerospace Management.

Rheinmetall Pressing Ahead with F-35A project: AERO-Bildungs GmbH Commissioned with Technical Training for Production Mechanics

Saturday, June 8th, 2024

Rheinmetall is pressing ahead with its F-35A programme. The technology group has commissioned AERO-Bildungs GmbH to provide technical training for the production mechanics for the centre fuselage section of the F-35A in Weeze.

AERO-Bildungs GmbH is a partner specialised in the field of technical training within the aviation sector. The mid-sized family business located in Oberpfaffenhofen in Bavaria will assist with planning of the training and the implementation of basic technical training. This shall enhance the knowledge and skills initially learnt at Northrop Grumman in the USA not only to be applied in Weeze, but also to be passed on to other employees in the same quality, thus enabling a transfer of knowledge. In cooperation with experienced Rheinmetall trainers, a dedicated training and competence center is being set up in Weeze to ensure sustainable knowledge building and ongoing employee qualification.

The commissioning of AERO-Bildungs GmbH as of April 2024 is the first step towards further integrating German companies into the F-35A delivery and supply chain for the Weeze site. It underlines the Duesseldorf-based technology group’s commitment to increasing German added value within the programme.

Rheinmetall has been commissioned by Northrop Grumman to produce at least 400 centre fuselage sections for the F-35A fighter aircraft in 2023. Extensive infrastructure measures are currently underway in Weeze, North Rhine-Westphalia, near the Dutch border. The aim is to complete the production facility in spring 2025 and then start production in summer 2025.

About Rheinmetall Aviation Services:
Rheinmetall Aviation Services GmbH (RAS), based in Bremen, was founded at the beginning of 2019 for strategic cooperation with Sikorsky in the Heavy Transport Helicopter (STH) procurement project. RAS has been working in close cooperation with the German Air Force at three different airfields since 2021/2022. RAS is seamlessly integrated into the German Air Force’s organisational structure and successfully takes over support, maintenance and repair of the CH-53G fleet.

Another important milestone was achieved in 2023 when RAS, in cooperation with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, entered into the production of centre fuselage sections for the F-35A. With an investment volume in the three-digit million euro range, Rheinmetall is currently building a state-of-the-art factory at the Weeze site in North Rhine-Westphalia for the production of at least 400 F-35A centre fuselage sections for the German Air Force and allied nations.

A new era in the air dimension will begin for Rheinmetall with the completion of the factory by the end of the first quarter of 2025 and the subsequent start of production and delivery of the first centre fuselage sections as of the first quarter of 2027.

Soldiers Test Launched Effects Prototypes

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — “No humans at first contact.” That was the goal of the APEX Lab during the Launched Effects Crew Station Working Group exercise held in April 2024.

The APEX lab — organized under the Systems, Simulation, Software, and Integration Directorate of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center — hosted the exercise with support from mission partners Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional team, Program Executive Office for Aviation and their program and product offices.

The laboratory welcomed seventeen Soldiers from across the U.S. Army to participate in the exercise. Pilots and crewmembers were selected from operational units to vet potential updates and additions to cockpit and cabin interfaces via government-developed, government-owned software. This enabled AvMC engineers to rapidly prototype some of the Soldiers’ recommendations in real time.

The Soldiers not only test launched effects prototypes in development at the lab, but to also influence — and possibly change — the Army doctrine that will accompany those effects in the future. The event was conducted using the Engineering Analysis Cockpit developed in support of the Utility Helicopter Program Office. Launched effects are drones that can be used in a multi-domain capacity — launching from air, ground, or sea for reconnaissance or target strike far ahead of the accompanying forces.

“All the data that comes from this is going to our PMs,” Jena Salvetti, lead human factors engineer for DEVCOM AvMC’s Aviation Crew Stations Branch, said. “It’s going to help inform requirements and it’s going to help inform a lot of the decisions made.”

As the subject matter experts on hand instructed the Soldiers — they are rewriting the rules.

“We need your help on what it’s going to look like,” FVL’s Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alex Drouin told the Soldiers. “That’s what we’re going to tackle this week. What do you, the users, think works? What doesn’t work? Because I can make a PowerPoint presentation that looks absolutely incredible and a great video, but if it doesn’t work for the users, we are going to fail.”

For Capt. Spencer Hudson, 3rd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, who traveled from Fort Bliss, Texas, to participate, it was an opportunity to influence the equipment Soldiers use daily while also getting a first-hand look at how the engineers develop that technology.

“It is interesting to see the thought process of the developers,” Hudson said. “It builds trust when you have two sides that want to get to the same goal.”

Crew station working groups help ensure that technology is developed right on the first try. Long known as the tip of the spear on the battlefield, what launched effects will do for Army forces, Drouin said, is make that tip autonomous.

“The battlefield is drastically changing from the way we know it,” he said. “This is the future and this is where we are going.”

By Katie Davis Skelley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public Affairs