Wildcat Makes Maiden Flight

The first Wildcat Attack Helicopter to be delivered to the Royal Navy has taken its first flight at Yeovil in Somerset.

The Wildcats is equipped with a high tech interactive display and a new radar system that provides 360 degree surveillance.

Wildcat HMA Mk2 will carry Sting Ray torpedoes, a door-mounted 0.5 inch heavy machine gun and new light and heavy variants of the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon Missiles.

It will perform a range of tasks once in-service such as for anti-surface warfare, force protection and counter-piracy. It will also be able to carry out an anti-submarine role.

The Ministry of Defence signed a £250m contract with AgustaWestland last year to provide support and training for the Royal Navy and British Army’s 62 strong fleet of Wildcat Helicopters. The Royal Navy will receive 28 maritime attack variant helicopters, which will begin operations across the globe from 2015 and replace the existing Lynx Mark 8. The contract is sustaining 500 skilled jobs in the Somerset area.

First Globemaster for IAF

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken delivery of its first of 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifter.

The C-17 will enter a U.S. Air Force flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California. Four more C-17’s are on track to deliver the IAF this year and five in 2014.

“The C-17 met the stipulated airlift requirements of the Indian Air Force when it flew field evaluation trials in India during June 2010,” said Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, Air Attaché at the Embassy of India.

India’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government on June 15, 2011, to acquire 10 C-17 airlifters, making India the largest C-17 customer outside the United States. The governments finalized the Foreign Military Sales contract for the airframe on June 6, 2012.

F-35C First In-Flight Dual Refueling

Two Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II carrier variant test aircraft refueled together with a Lockheed Martin KC-130 Hercules above Patuxent River, Md.

The CV aircraft, known as CF-1 and CF-2, completed the milestone as part of an F-35 flight test program that will accomplish more than 1,000 flights in 2013. Later this year, Eglin AFB, Fla., will receive its first CV aircraft joining the F-35 pilot and maintainer training program there.

C295 to Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has taken delivery of the first two C295 transports that it ordered last year.

The contract includes further six options that will be progressively confirmed in the coming years.

The aircraft were formally handed over in Sevilla before the ferry flights, via Astana, to Almaty, where they will be based.

They were technically accepted earlier in Seville by a combined team of Kazspetsexport, the Kazakhstan Ministry of Defence, and the Kazakhstan Air Forces.

The purchase contract additionally covers the related service support package for spare parts and ground support equipment.

Colombia orders additional C295s

The Colombian Air Force has added another Airbus Military C295 to its order of five aircraft.

The aircraft will primarily be used on military transport and humanitarian aid duties.

Since receiving its first C295 in 2008 the CAF has steadily increased its fleet of the type and now operates four with two more to be delivered. It also operates six Airbus Military CN235-200s and six of the smaller C212.

This latest order brings the number of Airbus Military C295s and CN235s sold this year to 32 and takes total C295 orders to 115, with 93 currently in operation in 15 countries.

Airbus begins flight tests of C295 winglets

The winglets have the potential to improve performance in the take-off, climb and cruise phases of flight by increasing the lift-drag ratio.

Airbus Military has begun flight-testing a modification to add winglets to the C295 medium transport and surveillance aircraft – one of a series of product developments underway on the market-leading type.

Possible in-service benefits include improved hot and high runway performance, increased range and endurance, and reduced operating costs.

First flight of the wingletted aircraft successfully took place at Airbus Military’s Seville facility in Spain on 21 December. Data from that flight is being analysed and will be added to data from future flights, providing the basis for a decision on whether or not to incorporate winglets into the C295 design.

AgustaWestland Signs Sea King Support Contract

The contract with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, is for the provision of Sea King Integrated Operational Support (SKIOS).

The deal is valued at approximately £260 million and starts from 1st April 2013 to the type’s out of service date in March 2016 and follows on from Phase 1 and Phase 2 of SKIOS which provide services up to the end of March 2013.

The SKIOS contract provides a comprehensive availability based support package for the UK MoD’s fleet of Sea King helicopters operated by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The contract includes payments for achieved flying hours and incentive arrangements associated with delivering agreed levels of aircraft serviceability and operational fleet aircraft numbers.

Under the SKIOS contract AgustaWestland has responsibility for delivering Sea King Depth Maintenance, Second Line Workshop services, spares and technical support services. Additionally AgustaWestland also delivers 1st and 2nd Line Maintenance Services for Search and Rescue Sea Kings stationed at eight bases comprising Wattisham Airfield, RAF Lossiemouth, DST Leconfield, RMB Chivenor, RAF Boulmer, RAF Valley, HMS Gannet and Mount Pleasant Airfield, Falkland Islands. These Sea Kings provide 24 hour SAR cover for the majority of the UK and the Falkland Islands.

The UK MoD’s fleet of Sea King helicopters totals almost 90 aircraft comprising the Royal Air Force’s Mk.3 and Mk.3A SAR aircraft and the Royal Navy’s Mk.4 amphibious support aircraft, Mk.5 SAR aircraft and Mk.7 Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) aircraft.