AHRLAC Shines at AAD - AHRLAC, a joint venture between South Africa's Paramount Group and the Aerospace Development Corporation, began the final assembly of its first production AHRLAC light attack/ISR aircraft on September 19 at its new Wonderboom factory in Pretoria. The aircraft, MSN1, is one of two that
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September 21, 2018
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AHRLAC Shines at AAD

AHRLAC, a joint venture between South Africa's Paramount Group and the Aerospace Development Corporation, began the final assembly of its first production AHRLAC light attack/ISR aircraft on September 19 at its new Wonderboom factory in Pretoria. The aircraft, MSN1, is one of two that will be completed before the end of the year for two separate customers. Both are to be completed in the Mwari ITAR-free armed configuration that is managed and marketed by Paramount. AHRLAC is also offered by Bronco Combat Systems in an ITAR-restricted, U.S.-targeted version known as Bronco II.

As this production milestone was reached, AHRLAC’s two development aircraft were participating in the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) show, which is held biennially at Waterkloof air force base near Pretoria. The pair flew a formation routine. The second aircraft, designated PDM, is a production-representative machine that differs from the first, experimental XDM aircraft by having retractable landing gear, enlarged nose cone for housing sensors such as the Leonardo Osprey radar and electro-optic turrets, Martin-Baker Mk 16 ejection seats, and an onboard oxygen generating system. Between them, the two aircraft have amassed better than 500 flying hours. Read More

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Army Expected To Release RFP for New Scout Helicopter

Within days, the U.S. Army is expected to release a formal request for proposal (RFP) for prototypes for a future attack reconnaissance aircraft competitive prototype (FARA CP) that it hopes to fly by 2023 and have in production by the 2030s. FARAs are intended to replace the Army’s fleet of decommissioned Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warrior armed scout helicopters, a mission now being flown by Boeing AH-64 Apache gunships and MQ-1C UAVs. 

The Army is looking for between four and six conceptual designs and then plans to settle on two design teams by 2020 with a fly-off in 2023 and a program award in 2024. The FARA is intended to complement the medium lift aircraft that will result from the upcoming Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) competition between the Bell V-280 Valor next generation tiltrotor and the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant compound helicopter.  Read More

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UK's ASDOT Moves to Negotiation Phase

The UK Ministry of Defence has begun negotiations with its preferred suppliers for the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) requirement, which will see a thorough refresh of the UK’s airborne adversary training capability. An Invitation to Negotiation (ITN) was issued last month to industry, with the MoD confirming to AIN that the program is moving into its negotiation phase. 

“The winning bidder entity will be announced once this has completed and internal approval received to place the contract,” a spokesperson confirmed. A contract award is expected in June 2020. Read More

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Russia To Order Improved Su-30 'Flankers'

Russia’s defense ministry intends to procure 36 more Sukhoi Su-30SM two-seat multirole fighters, according to Yuri Slyusar, head of United Aircraft Corporation. A firm order is expected later this year. The ministry had already provided funds in the 2017 budget for research and development work on the refurbishment of earlier aircraft with higher-thrust engines.

A recently published report by the United Engine Corporation indicates that its Ufa Machinery-Building Production Organization (UMPO) is working on an adaptation for the Su-30SM of the AL-41F-1S engine that powers the Su-35S to attain a higher degree of commonality between the two types. The effort involves the Sukhoi design bureau and Irkut aircraft manufacturing plant. Replacing the current AL-31FP with the AL-41F-1S would result in an extra thrust of four tonnes for the 38-tonne aircraft. Read More

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MBDA Unveils Company-level UAV Concept

MBDA has revealed an eVTOL unmanned aerial vehicle concept based around its developmental Enforcer lightweight weapon, which the company envisions will provide troops with a company-level organic close air support (CAS) capability. Spectre will be able to carry two of the seven-kg weapons within its hollow fuselage, providing company commanders with the option to deploy a low-cost countermeasure, rather than having to call on high-value assets to carry out the CAS mission.

“We recognized that a lot of close air support is difficult for companies…so we started to explore the use of UAVs in this role,” Stephen Scott, head of future battlefield weapons at MBDA, told media at the DVD exhibition in Millbrook, UK. “We think we have identified a capability gap; there are lots of UAVs that deliver ISTAR [intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconaissance], but not ones that can also deliver effects.” Read More

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Reactivated Mi-24s Return to Hungary

Four overhauled Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopters were recently delivered to the Hungarian Air Force base at KecskemĂ©t aboard a VKS (Russian aerospace forces) An-124 strategic airlifter. From there they were transported by road to the Szolnok helicopter base. The two Mi-24Vs and two Mi-24Ps are the first of a batch of 12 Mi-24s to be overhauled for the Hungarian Ministry of Defence (MoD), which signed a contract with Russian Helicopters last fall. According to the contract, the 12 aircraft are to be completed within 10 months.

Brigadier General Jozsef Koller, the Szolnok base commander, told the media that the project was “a bit more than an overhaul” but that he would not call it a modernization. The work on the Mi-24s is being done by the St. Petersburg-based AO 419. ARZ enterprise and will serve alongside the 20 Airbus H145Ms ordered by Hungary. Equipped with HForce kits, the H145Ms will gradually form the backbone of the HunAF’s helicopter assets, providing close-support. The 12 refreshed Mi-24s are expected to remain in active service for at least another seven years. Read More

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