Boeing T-X Headed Toward First Flight

By: Valerie Insinna, November 29, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Boeing-Saab T-X trainer is on track to fly by the end of the year after completing afterburner engine runs last week, Boeing officials said.

Only a few more major tests remain before the plane makes its inaugural flight, said program manager Ted Torgerson during a Nov. 23 interview ahead of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

“We are clicking off all of our test points, we have tested around somewhere around nearly 1,200 test points on the jet on ground tests,” he said.

The next test involves putting the plane, engine running, through the motions of a flight — takeoff, climb and landing — with the aircraft tied down to the runway, Torgerson said. The company will also check how the airplane responds to simulated system failures. After that, a Boeing-Saab board will clear the aircraft for flight, and the Federal Aviation Administration will certify it. Finally, the company will conduct low-, medium- and high-speed taxi tests before flying the jet.

“We’re looking to fly soon, before the year is over” Tom Conard, the company’s T-X capture team leader, reiterated during a Tuesday briefing at I/ITSEC. “And as we’re preparing that jet to fly, our flight crews are training in the training system devices to prepare them exactly what they’re going to see in the jet.”

A second Boeing T-X was revealed to the press during a September rollout ceremony shortly before it went through structural proof tests. The company is currently powering all of the systems on the airplane, will fuel the plane in a matter of weeks and plans to move quickly through tests for an early 2017 flight, Togerson said.

The Boeing-Saab team is competing against one other clean-sheet design, manufactured by Northrop Grumman. Two other teams are banking on less risky existing designs. Lockheed Martin has partnered with KAI to offer the T-50A, a version of the Korean company’s T-50 trainer. Raytheon joined with Leonardo and CAE on the T-100, which uses Alenia Aermacchi M-346 as the basis.

If all goes according to schedule, the Boeing-Saab plane will fly around the same time as the US Air Force issues its final request for proposals, which officials have targeted for a December release. The service has already put forward several draft request for proposals, which detail threshold requirements as well as objective requirements that could knock hundreds of millions of dollars off a company’s total evaluated price.

Boeing, for its part, has stressed that its clean-sheet design was tailored specifically for the threshold requirements, and officials have not detailed how close it can get to the objective.

« We’re going to meet all the requirements and growth provisions for the future,” Conard said. « It has no radar, it has no weapons, it is not doing anything except advanced fast jet training. »

Asked whether Boeing plans to incorporate such features for potential opportunities currently under discussion by the Air Force — such as an exercise of light-attack aircraft that could inform a program of record, or a proposal to hire industry to play the aggressor role in training exercises — Conard demurred.

“We’ll look at that after we win T-X,” he said. “We’ve got to win T-X, and then from there we will able to adapt and work in future variants. And I’ll leave it at that.”



BAE conteste un contrat de l’US Navy octroyé à Raytheon


BAE Systems conteste la décision de la marine américaine d’accorder un contrat de brouillage électronique à Raytheon, a déclaré jeudi un porte-parole du groupe de défense britannique.

Brian Roehrkasse a dit que BAE avait décidé de protester auprès du Government Accountability Office (GAO), l’équivalent de la Cour des Comptes, car « il s’interroge sur l’évaluation que la Navy a faite de notre offre ».

« La solution que nous avons soumise donnerait à l’US Navy un moyen efficace et abordable d’améliorer sensiblement nos capacités et de protéger nos avions, navires et forces armées », a-t-il ajouté.

Raytheon a décroché le 8 juillet ce contrat de développement de 279 millions de dollars, mais susceptible de représenter au final des milliards de dollars de dollars, de l’avis d’analystes, l’emportant sur BAE et sur Northrop Grumman.

Le nouveau système de brouillage doit en principe être opérationnel d’ici l’exercice budgétaire 2020.

DoD Might Cut Jets from 5th F-35 Batch

Published: 8 Aug 2011 16:01

The Pentagon might have to cut the number of F-35 Lightning II fighters it purchases in an upcoming buy to cover increased development costs in early model jets, unless Congress approves a $151 million funding transfer, according to U.S. Defense Department documents.

DoD asked Congress to approve the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) money transfer in a 91-page, June 30 omnibus reprogramming. Congress has yet to OK the measure.

The cost overruns surround 31 of the single-engine jets purchased over the past five years, according to a Pentagon acquisition document. The aircraft were part of the first three low-rate initial production (LRIP) buys.

« If the reprogramming request is not approved, additional funding within the JSF program will be diverted to cover these costs, » the document said.

The additional funds would cover development cost increases involving « both airframe and propulsion contracts, » the reprogramming document said.

In addition to F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems build parts of the fuselage. Pratt & Whitney builds the engine that powers the stealth jet.

The cost increases came before then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates restructured the multiservice F-35 program earlier this year, according to the acquisition document.

« The JSF program is already working to cover most of the cost overruns internally, » the document said.

Last year, the Pentagon and Lockheed negotiated an LRIP-4 contract for jets that caps the government’s vulnerability to cost increases and rewards the contractor for controlling cost growth. DoD plans to use a similar fixed-price structure during LRIP-5 negotiations later this year.

But if Congress does not approve the $151 million reprogramming, the Pentagon might have to shrink the number of jets purchased in LRIP-5.

« The diversion of additional JSF funds could result in the purchase of fewer aircraft in LRIP 5 and result in future cost increases for the JSF program, » the acquisition document said.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s largest acquisition program ever, with a total price tag estimated at more than $380 billion, which includes development and production. An updated program cost is expected this fall.

The Pentagon plans to buy 2,443 F-35s, which will be flown by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Hundreds of foreign sales are also expected.

The Air Force jet flies from traditional runways and the Navy jet from aircraft carriers. The Marine Corps version can take off from short runways or smaller amphibious ships and land vertically.

The jet will replace a number of combat aircraft, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and A-10 Warthog.

After years of development issues, the program had gained steam in recent months, completing flight test objectives faster than most recently planned. However, all 20 F-35 test jets were grounded Aug. 2 following a failure of the aircraft’s power system.

Source: defensenews

Northrop Grumman Awarded $48.7 Million for Continuing Operation of Battlefield Airborne Communications Node

SAN DIEGO, May 19, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) a $48.7 million contract modification for continuing operations and support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system.

Under the contract modification, Northrop Grumman will continue providing management, engineering, implementation, test, site and training support.

BACN provides an advanced airborne communications gateway capability to commanders and warfighters, enhancing situational awareness and connecting disparate voice and datalink networks throughout the battlespace. BACN bridges and extends voice communications and battlespace awareness information from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems.

The Air Force Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., awarded the contract to Northrop Grumman in support of the Air Force Materiel Command.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system. The company was awarded the first BACN contract in April 2005.

Northrop Grumman’s work on the BACN program is managed and performed primarily in San Diego.

The BACN program has received a number of accolades over the past year. The Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Defense Industrial Association selected the BACN Joint Urgent Operational Need program to receive one of the Top 5 DoD Program Awards, which are given annually for excellence in systems engineering.

BACN also was honored with the Weapon Systems Award from the Order of Daedalians, a national fraternity of military pilots, and the 2010 Network Centric Warfare Award™ for Outstanding Achievement from a Defense Industry Partner, by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.

Exclusive: Pentagon arms chief, industry in talks on bomber

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON | Tue May 17, 2011 8:35pm EDT

(Reuters) – Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter traveled to California last week to meet with Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) Chief Executive Wes Bush and other industry executives about a new long-range bomber, according to three sources familiar with the meetings.

The Defense Department is working on a new long-range « penetrating » bomber, which will be designed to fly with or without a pilot on board, carry nuclear weapons, and cost about $550 million per plane on average, according to a new 30-year Pentagon plan for aviation procurement.

The plan calls for the Air Force to field 80 to 100 of the new bombers to replace the current fleet of bombers, which include 66 B-1 bombers, 20 B-2 bombers and 85 B-52 bombers.

That means the overall program will cost $40 billion to $50 billion over the next decades — a huge opportunity for big weapons makers like Northrop, Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Boeing Co (BA.N), which are bracing for declining defense spending in other areas.

The Pentagon’s plan calls for upgrades to the B-2 bomber built by Northrop in the 1990s, to enhance its effectiveness and survivability, and divestment of 6 Boeing Co B-1 bombers built in the 1980s to pay for upgrades to the remaining fleet.

Senior defense officials have said that the fiscal 2012 budget includes $3.7 billion for the new bomber over the next five years, but industry executives are waiting for details on how the department plans to structure an acquisition plan.

One big challenge is that work on the bomber is likely to be classified, but funding for the program will be in the public domain, said one executive who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Defense companies are also worried that the Pentagon may try to develop the new bomber on a fixed-price development contract, rather than the cost-plus contracts used in the past, according to a second industry executive.


Carter, meanwhile, is focused on ensuring that development of a new bomber doesn’t run into the cost overruns and schedule delays that have plagued most big weapons programs.

He told lawmakers last month the Pentagon wanted to build « affordability » into big weapons programs from the start.

« The military services have worked and reworked the requirements for these programs to ensure that we do not find ourselves, after spending billions on development, with a system we can’t afford to produce, » he said in written testimony for the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

The Air Force said it was focused on keeping the new bomber affordable by constraining military requirements and adopting a streamlined management and acquisition approach.

Setting a target for the new plane’s average procurement cost would allow officials to make the capability trade-offs needed to keep program costs low, the service said.

Carter also met with executives from Lockheed Martin Corp during his visit to Palmdale, California, where the company has its Skunk Works facility where it works on classified programs like the F-117A stealth fighter.

Boeing’s advanced research facility in Palmdale, known as Phantom Works, is where the company designed its new Phanton Ray unmanned plane, which executed a first flight last month.

Officials at the three biggest U.S. defense contractors declined to comment on any specific meetings between their executives and government officials. No comment was immediately available from Carter’s office.

Defense consultant Jim McAleese said the Air Force had likely already paid the three companies — Lockheed, Northrop and Boeing — at least $1 billion to develop technologies that would be used on a new bomber.

Last week’s meetings were likely part of a « fact-finding » mission that would help Carter shape an acquisition strategy for the new weapons program, he said.

The Air Force’s budget included $12 billion for classified research in fiscal 2012 alone, plus $18 billion for classified procurement, McAleese said.

Air Force budget documents foresee spending on the bomber of $197 million in fiscal 2012, which begins October 1, with outlays growing each year to around $1.7 billion in 2016.

Additional money would be spent on other weapons associated with long-range strike capabilities over the time, including $800 million for a new nuclear-capable cruise missile.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Richard Chang)

Exclusive: Northrop Unveils Firebird MALE Aircraft

May 9, 2011

By Amy Butler

Northrop Grumman is planning to publicly unveil its secret Firebird aircraft later this month at the Pentagon’s Empire Challenge, an exercise designed to demonstrate intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies that can be fielded quickly.

Despite mature work in the unmanned rotorcraft, airship and high-altitude UAS markets, company officials have remained unsatisfied at the dominance of General Atomics in the medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAS market with their Predator, Reaper and Gray Eagle designs.

“That was a target,” says Paul Meyer, director of the Advanced Technology and Concepts division, who spoke exclusively with Aviation Week about the new aircraft. “That is the one that is unopposed today [but] when we looked at it, we needed to do something different.”

Thus, Firebird is an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV); it was secretly built by Northrop Grumman’s Scaled Composites in 12 months. The aircraft, first flown in February 2010, was showcased last October in a private demonstration for Pentagon officials near Sacramento, Calif. Though unlikely to eclipse Predator or Reaper in order numbers, Northrop officials see an opportunity for a niche market with the OPV while the Pentagon and FAA continue to wrangle over rules for flying UAS in open airspace.

The twin-boomed, Bronco tail design – so named because it was used for the OV-10 “Bronco” — was chosen to carry up to four payloads simultaneously, including sensors and communications equipment, and operate up to 40 hrs. in unmanned mode.

Firebird’s information architecture was crafted to offer users in various locations direct access to the payloads, offering service to multiple ground users at once, says Rick Crooks, director of special programs at Northrop’s advanced technology division. The aircraft is designed to fly at about 200 kts.

During Empire Challenge, which takes place May 23-June 3, Northrop plans to showcase the use of up to four payloads – including high-definition full-motion video, electro-optical/infrared sensors, electronic support/direction finding and a communications relay — simultaneously on Firebird. The company plans to land, reconfigure the sensor payload and launch a new sortie within an hour.

Empire Challenge takes place in Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Though hosted by the now soon-to-be defunct U.S. Joint Forces Command, the Army is sponsoring the Firebird entry for the trials.

[Editor’s note: For an in-depth exclusive look at the Firebird, read Aviation Week & Space Technology’s cover story May 9.]


Northrop Grumman Awarded $77.9 Million for U.S. Army Air and Missile Defense Workstation Development and Support

CARSON, Calif. April 19, 2011

The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $77.9 million contract to continue providing software development and lifecycle support for the Air and Missile Defense Workstation (AMDWS).

AMDWS provides a composite air defense picture to warfighters and air and missile defense planning and situational awareness capabilities throughout the Army.

Under the five-year AMDWS Block 4 contract, Northrop Grumman will continue development of enabling technologies to evolve AMDWS capabilities and provide engineering, implementation, test, site and training support.

AMDWS retrieves, fuses and distributes battlespace awareness information from numerous sources, including joint headquarters, the Army Battle Command System network, national intelligence assets, and tactical and strategic sensors.

The contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman by the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, in support of the Product Manager, Counter-Rocket Artillery and Mortar in Madison, Ala.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the AMDWS system. The company was awarded the first AMDWS contract in June 1996.

Northrop Grumman’s work on the AMDWS program is led by a management team in Carson and performed in Carson and Huntsville, Ala.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company whose 75,000 employees provide innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Pentagon Contract Announcement: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $55,704,295 modification to a previously awarded contract (N63394-10-C-5006) for operation and maintenance services for the combined tactical training ranges.  Services will be required at shore sites, land-based test facilities, and aboard ships in ports and at sea.

Work will be performed in Oceana, Va. (30 percent); Yuma, Ariz. (25 percent); Fallon, Nev. (20 percent); Cherry Point, N.C. (12 percent); Key West, Fla. (8 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (5 percent).  Work is expected to be completed by April 2012.  Contract funds in the amount of $7,372,694 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Port Hueneme Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Euro Hawk undergoes testing at Edwards AFB

by Kenji Thuloweit
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

3/30/2011 – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) — Engineers with the 772nd Test Squadron facilitated electromagnetic interference testing on a Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft at the Benefield Anechoic Facility here March 10 and 11.

They teamed with representatives of Northrop Grumman Corporation and the German government to complete the testing.

The Euro Hawk is similar to the Air Force’s operational RQ-4 Global Hawk, and although EMI testing already has been conducted on the Global Hawk, the Euro Hawk has never been flown in the unique radio frequency environment of Europe.

« There are radars and radio stations.  Our civilization is filled with electromagnetic sources, » said Daniel Suh, NGC Euro Hawk System engineering manager. « In highly populated areas there are more emitters so there’s risk associated in flying an unmanned aircraft in those environments.

« The BAF provided some unique testing to reduce that risk, » he said.

Because of the BAF’s design, it allows testers to evaluate the aircraft’s radio emissions and absorptions in an environment that is sanitized of outside radio frequencies. This prevents those sources from interfering and compromising the tests.

Suh said interference could have an effect on the avionics of any aircraft with electronic equipment. Communications and navigation systems are a few examples of electronic equipment that could potentially face detrimental EMI effects, including failure.

The BAF is capable of simulating different electromagnetic interference and Maj. Corey Beaverson, the 772nd TS operations director, said the test team subjected the Euro Hawk to EMI environments they believe the aircraft will encounter in Europe.

« We know there are certain environments that the Euro Hawk is going to be subjected to across the ocean and while operating in its intended role, » Beaverson said. « Are those environments going to be safe from an electromagnetic interference and compatibility perspective? Partnering with the Global Vigilance Combined Test Force, Northrop Grumman and our German allies, we’ve developed a series of tests to see how the aircraft reacts to some known electromagnetic fields. »

« What the BAF is doing is providing a clean (radio frequency) environment and we are subjecting the Euro Hawk to electric fields at a variety of frequencies that are representative of what we understand the electromagnetic environment to be in Europe, » he said.

« We adjusted different frequency ranges, » Suh said. « There are specific frequencies that we look at using the antennas within the BAF, as well as adjusting energy levels. »

The Euro Hawk is an unmanned aircraft that has been authorized by U.S. officials for direct commercial sales to representatives of allied countries.

Suh said German Ministry of Defence officials specifically wanted the Euro Hawk tested at the BAF because of the facility’s unique capabilities.

This is one part of the Euro Hawk’s comprehensive testing at Edwards AFB that has been a collaborative effort between the U.S. military, private industry and a foreign ally.

« I think it’s a great team, » Suh said. « We rolled into the BAF at the end of January. Previously, we coordinated with the Combined Test Force as well as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, (Ohio), in going through our detailed test plan … making sure our test objectives were achievable before coming to the BAF. It’s been a great experience. »

The Euro Hawk has been undergoing flight testing at Edwards AFB since last year and is expected to complete its visit to the high desert during the summer.

Source : US Air Force

Iraq – AN/TPQ-36(V)10 FIREFINDER Radars

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Iraq of six AN/TPQ-36(V)10 FIREFINDER Radar Systems, 18 AN/TPQ-48 Light Weight Counter-Mortar Radars and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $299 million.

The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 6 AN/TPQ-36(V)10 FIREFINDER Radar Systems, 18 AN/TPQ-48 Light Weight Counter-Mortar Radars, 3 Meteorological Measuring Sets, 36 export variant Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems, 6 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, 3 Position and Azimuth Determining Systems, government furnished equipment, common hardware and software, communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $299 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country. This proposed sale directly supports the Iraq government and serves the interests of the Iraqi people and the U.S.

The proposed sale of the FIREFINDER radars will advance Iraq’s efforts to develop an integrated ground defense capability and to develop a strong and dedicated military force. The FIREFINDER radars will enable Iraq to assume some of the missions currently accomplished by U.S. and coalition forces and to sustain itself in its efforts to establish stability to Iraq.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Thales Raytheon Systems in Fullerton, California, Northrop Grumman in Los Angeles, California, Smith-Detection Technologies in Edgewood, Maryland, ITT Corporation, Defense Electronics Services in McLean, Virginia, Raytheon Company in Waltham, Massachusetts, L-3 Communications in New York, New York, and SRCTec, Incorporated in North Syracuse, New York. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require U.S. Government or contractor representatives to travel to Iraq for up to three years for equipment de-processing/fielding, system checkout, new equipment training, and logistics support.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Source : Defense Security Cooperation Agency