In Brief

Lockheed Martin delivers first Target Sight System production unit to U.S. Marine Corps

Lockheed Martin officials delivered the first Target Sight System (TSS) production unit to the U.S. Marine Corps. The TSS is the multi-sensor fire control system for the U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter. The TSS integrates modern sensors to help Cobra pilots acquire, track, and designate targets. The system provides imagery through a stabilized sensor suite that includes a laser designator, color TV, and a third-generation, mid-wave, forward-looking infrared sensor with advanced image processing. “Lockheed Martin has worked hard to deliver a targeting system capability for the AH-1Z Cobra,” says Col. Harry Hewson, U.S. Marine Corps program manager, Air 276. “TSS allows warfighters to see farther with greater precision, enabling mission accomplishment and safe return to base. We are looking forward to deploying this capability in the field.” Production will take place at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Ocala and Orlando, Fla. Delivery of the 16 systems contracted will be completed in 2010.

Raytheon demonstrates next-generation antenna technology during test flight

During a flight test, Raytheon demonstrated antenna technology that improves and delivers on the next-generation of airborne communications for widebody aircraft. The Advanced Multiband Communication Antenna System (AMCAS), developed for the U.S. Air Force, is a low-profile antenna that significantly reduces drag on an aircraft, Raytheon officials say. Attached to the aircraft skin, the antenna extends 8.5 inches. This solution, which simplifies installation and minimizes time out of service, is an affordable alternative to today’s antennas, which require more extensive and complex installations and extend considerably farther from the aircraft’s fuselage. During the test, the AMCAS antenna, which is being evaluated for use with the family of advanced line-of-sight terminals, communicated with the Milstar satellite’s medium data rate waveform. FAB-T is the Air Force’s next-generation communications system.

GA-ASI completes first flights of Lynx radar on Sky Warrior UAV

The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) Lynx Block 30 synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator (SAR/GMTI) radar has completed two test flights on a Sky Warrior Block 1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The tests were in support of the planned quick reaction capability (QRC) deployment of the first four Sky Warrior aircraft under the U.S. Army Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAV program. Numerous radar (spot and stripmap) images were taken at various ranges and resolutions via GA-ASI’s CLAW sensor control and exploitation software in the Army’s One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS). In addition, the GMTI mode detected and tracked moving objects in real time. The Lynx Block 30 radar provides all-weather precision capability to detect time-sensitive targets and offers a long-range, wide-area surveillance capability that can provide high-resolution synthetic aperture radar imagery at slant ranges beyond the range of infrared and other electro-optical sensors. Its GMTI scanning capability detects moving vehicles and cross-cues to an EO/IR payload via the CLAW payload control software. 

Northrop Grumman and U.S. Air Force unveil next-generation Global Hawk UAV

Northrop Grumman Corp. and U.S. Air Force officials introduced the next-generation Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the RQ-4 Block 40, at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., factory. Use of the MP-RTIP sensor on the Block 40 Global Hawk marks the first time the active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar technology has fitted to a UAV, Northrop Grumman officials say. AESA technology provides all-weather, day-night synthetic aperture radar mapping and ground moving target indicator capability. Designated AF-18, this Block 40 aircraft is scheduled to begin flight testing next month. Flying at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots, the MP-RTIP-equipped Block 40 Global Hawk can persistently see through most weather, day or night.

Eurocopter to retrofit 26 CH53 Bundeswehr helicopters for rescue missions

Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH and the German Federal Agency for Defense Technology and Procurement signed a contract at the Paris Air Show to retrofit one prototype followed by a further 25 of the German army’s CH53 GS/GE transport helicopters with the capability to perform rescue missions. The first retrofitted helicopter is scheduled for delivery in early 2010. The upgrade will enable the CH53 GS/GE to locate and rescue personnel, Eurocopter officials say. Eurocopter engineers will design a mission-tactical workstation in the cargo bay, which can be quickly installed and removed. The workstation controls the rescue sensor systems on the helicopter, which include a personnel locater system, a broadband radio unit, a forward-looking infrared system, and connections to the internal and satellite communications systems. Information is provided on two workstation displays and a mobile avionics display for the cockpit crew.

Boeing to pay for developing stealthy version of F-15 jet fighter

Boeing officials say the company will use its own money to develop a stealthy version of the twin-engine F-15 jet fighter-bomber, the F-15 Silent Eagle, which could fill a market void for domestic and international sales of twin-engine modern jet fighters in the wake of the Air Force’s cancellation of the twin-engine F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Boeing officials expect to flight test a Silent Eagle prototype by next summer. The F-15 Silent Eagle, which Boeing launched last March advances the most modern variants of the F-15 multi-role strike fighter with enhanced survivability. The stealthy F-15 will have a digital electronic warfare suite coupled to an advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for enhanced situational awareness, aerodynamic improvements, and low radar cross section. “We know from talking with current international F-15 operators that they are interested in the capabilities of the Silent Eagle,” says Jim Albaugh, says Boeing Integrated Defense Systems president and chief executive officer. “Making this commitment to get the program through to a flight demonstration will ultimately help international customers understand how this aircraft meets their need for a flexible, long-range, large-payload, high-speed, multi-role strike fighter with reduced observability.” Boeing will conduct further trade studies to help sell F-15 Silent Eagle technologies. In addition, Boeing seeks to partner on the project with international aerospace companies.

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