Russia certifies Airbus Helicopters’ H225

Airbus Helicopters’ H225 has become the first foreign heavy-class helicopter to be approved by the Russian Certification Authorities.

Emeric Lhomme, general manager of Airbus Helicopters Vostok, said: “Successful certification of H225 by the Interstate Aviation Committee gives Russian customers an opportunity to start operating the efficient and reliable rotorcraft in the near future. Ten years of success on the global oil and gas market, and positive feedback from hundreds of customers worldwide prove that this helicopter is the best choice for challenging missions in severe weather conditions.

“We are certain that by choosing this helicopter, Russian customers will be able to decrease operational costs, as well as improve safety level and service quality,” he added.

The Russian certification will open up the all-weather market in countries such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for which the H225, with its safe and proven de-icing system, is perfectly suited.

Combining the ability to carry 19 passengers with its heavy-lift capacity, the H225 also offers the longest range in the industry. A demo tour organised earlier this year in Russia allowed the offshore community to witness at first-hand the capabilities of the H225’s unrivalled four-axis autopilot, its operational readiness and its comfort in flight. The helicopter was also shown at the MAKS air show in Moscow in August this year.

“The H225 is the right answer to Russia’s needs, bringing together the experience of top-class reliability in extreme weather conditions and cutting-edge avionics to fly more safely and further than any other air-lifted solutions,” said Olivier Scheier, Airbus Helicopters’ sales manager for the oil and gas segment in Russia.

“The H225 is fit for the toughest environments and guarantees the highest level of service, even in the most remote places,” he added.

US Marine Corps orders $2.1-million ground-combat training system

The US Marine Corps has ordered a Cubic Global Defense (CGD) Instrumented-Tactical Engagement Simulation System II (I-TESS II) for $2.1 million.

The system is a fully integrated ground-combat training system in a deployable package that can be used in military operations in urban terrain facilities and non-live fire manoeuvre ranges located at various Marine Corps bases and installations.

“I-TESS II is a turnkey capability that brings new levels of realism in an immersive environment to replicate the threat of live combat scenarios,” said Cubic Global Defense president Bill Toti. “Cubic looks forward to the continued partnership with the US Marine Corps in offering advanced training technologies and solutions using realistic battle simulations to better prepare our marines.”

The systems’ components include small-arms laser transmitters, rocket-propelled grenades, AT4 anti-tank and anti-armour rocket simulators, and laser-detection sensors for personnel, vehicles, and mobile and portable command and control systems. Future deliveries will include enhanced software and access to instructional videos, making the I-TESS II system more accessible with improved features.

US Navy accepts fourth MUOS satellite on board

Following the completion of successful in-orbit testing on 30 November, the US Navy accepted the fourth Lockheed Martin-built Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite.

Launched on 2 September, MUOS-4 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionising secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with operational MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect beyond the line of sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’s new commercial, cellular-based capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a secure high-speed IP-based system.

“MUOS-4 completes the initial constellation, providing the MUOS network with nearly global coverage. Mobile forces equipped with MUOS terminals will soon be able to communicate with each other – including voice, data and exchanging imagery – in real time, virtually anywhere on Earth,” said Iris Bombelyn, Lockheed Martin’s vice-president for narrowband communications. “This is a tremendous upgrade in communications capabilities over what currently exists for our nation and our allies.”

MUOS-4 will be relocated in early 2016 to its in-orbit operational slot in preparation for operational acceptance. The satellite joins MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3, launched in 2012, 2013 and January 2015 respectively, and four required MUOS ground stations. MUOS-5, an in-orbit spare, will also be launched next year.

Once fully operational, the MUOS network will provide 16 times the capacity of the legacy ultra-high-frequency communications satellite system, which it will continue to support before eventually replacing. More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.

US Navy successfully completes AGM-88E AARGM testing

The US Navy and Orbital ATK successfully launched and scored a direct hit against an advanced enemy air-defence radar system during a live fire test of the AGM-88E advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM) Block 1 software upgrade at the US Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, in September 2015.

The live fire tests are conducted under the firm-fixed-price contract awarded to Defense Electronics Systems, a unit of Alliant Techsystems Operations, in September 2012 to undertake full-rate production of the advanced anti-radiation guided missile.
Awarded by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the $70.56-million contract provides conversion of US Government furnished AGM-88B high-speed anti-radiation missiles into 53 AGM-88E AARGM All-Up Round for the US Navy (49) and the Italian Government (four), 23 captive air training missile systems for the US Navy, and all related supplies and services necessary for manufacturing, sparing, and fleet deployment.

The work is being undertaken at Woodland Hills and Ridgecrest, California; Clearwater, Florida; and various Italian locations.

Saab to provide technical system support for Swedish Armed Forces

Saab Defence and Security has received a contract to provide technical system support to the Swedish Armed Forces.
This includes operational and technical support, equipment follow-up, proposed modifications, continuous updates, environmental technology and warehouse operations for replacement units.The contract has been awarded as a part of the framework from a previously signed contract with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) regarding performance-based support and maintenance of Gripen in June 2012.
The $12.76-million contract was awarded by the FMV in December 2015. Work will be performed at Linkoping, Arboga, Vaxjo and Ă–stersund.

Canadian project for sustainable biofuel

Boeing, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and SkyNRG, with support from Canada’s aviation industry and other stakeholders, are collaborating to turn leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel.

Canada, which has extensive sustainably certified forests, has long used mill and forest residues to make wood pellets to generate electricity. A consortium including Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, Bombardier, research institutions and industry partners, will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermochemical processing.

“Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions over the long term,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ managing director of environmental strategy and integration, Julie Felgar.

“Canada is in a terrific position to leverage its sustainable forests to make environmental progress for its aviation industry and other transport sectors.”

A 2015 Boeing-sponsored study by UBC found that aviation biofuel made from forest waste could meet 10% – about 46 million gallons – of British Columbia’s annual jet fuel demand. These efforts could also supply biofuel to ground and marine vehicles, saving about a million tons of CO2 emissions a year on a life-cycle basis across the transportation sector, the study found.

“Air Canada believes that developing a reliable supply of sustainable aviation biofuel will play a role in achieving our emission-reduction goals,” said Air Canada director, environmental affairs Teresa Ehman. “By using Canada’s strong forestry research expertise and the knowledge of industry collaborators, this project will contribute significantly to understanding the viability of forest-residue-sourced biofuel.”

WestJet director of fuel and environment Geoff Tauvette said: “WestJet has invested billions of dollars in fleet renewal to reduce our fuel consumption and to ensure we are doing our part towards responsible growth and environmental sustainability.
“Our social responsibility mandate is to extend our culture of caring beyond our aircraft doors, and we are proud to support initiatives such as these that reduce our carbon footprint through the research, development and production of aviation biofuels in Canada.”

This project, announced during the 2015 Canadian Bioeconomy Conference in Vancouver, was recently awarded funding by the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) of Canada as part of a portfolio of investments in technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

The consortium is led by UBC, and NORAM Engineering and Constructors of Vancouver. Project partner SkyNRG, based in the Netherlands, is the global market leader for sustainable jet fuel, having supplied biofuel to more than 20 carriers worldwide.
Sustainably produced biofuel reduces life-cycle CO2 emissions by 50-80% over conventional petroleum fuel, according to the US Department of Energy.

As part of Boeing’s commitment to protect the environment and support long-term sustainable growth for commercial aviation, the company has active biofuel projects on six continents in locations including the US, Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and South-East Asia.

NATO activates high-readiness headquarters in Bucharest

NATO has activated a new high-readiness headquarters, Multinational Division Southeast, in Bucharest, Romania.
The operational control of the unit, which will have 280 personnel, will be undertaken by Joint Force Command Naples.
NATO Headquarters International Military Staff Operations and Planning Division director Major General Josef Blotz said: “The Multinational Divisional Headquarters Southeast is an important contribution to NATO’s collective defence. Today’s inauguration demonstrates that the implementation of the Readiness Action Plan [RAP] is on track and on time.”

Approved at the 2014 Wales Summit, the RAP provides a comprehensive package of measures. The headquarters will also serve as a centre for regional cooperation. Allied Joint Force Command Naples deputy commander and Canadian Air Force Lieutenant General Alain Parent said: “This new headquarter, led by Romanian Armed Forces members, will assure NATO allies of an increased readiness and capability, not only for the south-east region but for all NATO territories as well.”