Monday, June 27, 2016
Russian Helicopters, part of State Corporation Rostec, will cooperate with the Chinese state company Avicopter to develop the AHL (advanced heavy lift) heavy helicopter. A corresponding intergovernmental agreement was signed by the Russian and Chinese parties in Beijing in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“China is our oldest strategic military and technical partner, and we are happy that our cooperation has extended to the civil sector,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. “Joint development of the civilian advanced heavy helicopter by our company and Avicopter will not only contribute to the further development of cooperation with the Chinese party in high-tech sectors, but also to the strengthening of friendly ties between Russia and China in general. Russian Helicopters has unique competence to create heavy helicopters and is ready to assist our Chinese partners to implement this project.”
According to the document, the Russian and Chinese parties will jointly develop the advanced heavy helicopter for its subsequent serial production in China, aiming to meet the demand at the Chinese market. Russian Helicopters will contribute its technologies to the project and will also provide technical parameters as well as develop individual AHL systems on the contractual base.
The Chinese side will be responsible for the organization and implementation of the AHL program in general, including engineering design, creation of prototypes, performance of tests, certification, preparation and serial production, as well as market promotion and general coordination of activities.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
The rocket carries the highest number of satellites on a single Indian mission and the third highest in history.
India has successfully launched a rocket carrying a record 20 satellites, as its space agency looks to grab a larger slice of the lucrative commercial space market.
The rocket carries the highest ever number of satellites on a single Indian mission and the third highest in history.
It blasted off on Wednesday from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota, carrying satellites from the US, Germany, Canada and Indonesia.
Most of the satellites will enter orbit to observe and measure the Earth’s atmosphere, while one of them aims to provide service for amateur radio operators.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known to be highly ambitious about the country’s space research programme, described the launch as “a monumental accomplishment” for the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar told the national NDTV news network: “Each of these small objects that you are putting into space will carry out their own activity, which is independent of the other, and each of them will live a wonderful life for a finite period.” .
Frugal space programme
The business of putting commercial satellites into space for a fee is globally growing as phone, Internet and other companies, as well as countries, seek greater and more high-tech communications.
In 2008, India launched 10 satellites on one rocket, setting a world record that has since been broken by the United States and then Russia.
Pallava Bagla, a science editor with the privately run Indian TV channel NDTV, told Al Jazeera that it was significant feat and symbolised why big tech companies were flocking to India.
“It’s like dropping off, one by one, school children from a bus travelling at high velocity” he told Al Jazeera. “It’s a tricky maneuver because you don’t want the mothership and the ‘babies’ to collide with each other.”
“India offers launch costs that are fifty percent cheaper than the rest of the world, so if Space X, Arianespace or NASA can do it at $100, India is willing to do it at $50,” he added.
India is competing with other international players for a greater share of the commercial launch market, and is known for its low-cost space programme.
In 2013, the ISRO sent an unmanned rocket to orbit Mars at a cost of just $73m, compared with American space agency NASA’s Maven Mars mission that had a $671m price tag.
The successful mission was a source of immense pride in India, which beat rival China in becoming the first Asian country to reach the Red Planet.
In May, the ISRO launched a rocket carrying an experimental spacecraft it hopes will mark an important step towards the country’s first re-usable space shuttle.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Washington A rash of recent military crashes has cost the lives of several service members as well as billions of dollars worth of damages. The wave of accidents has raised questions about the training of pilots and the maintenance of aircraft, with top brass pointing to slashed budgets and aging fleets strained by prolonged conflict.
Last week, an MH-60S helicopter crashed in the James River in Virginia during a training mission. Earlier this month, two F-16C fighter jets collided in the skies over Georgia.
In the first incident all of the helicopter crew were rescued and in the second the two South Carolina Air National Guard pilots managed to safely eject. But a few days earlier, a Blue Angels pilot was killed when his jet crashed. An Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron jet crashed the same day, but that pilot managed to successfully eject.
During congressional testimony in March, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John Paxton, acknowledged the growing rate of accidents.
"We are concerned about an increasing number of aircraft mishaps and accidents," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He blamed funding shortfalls for the increase, saying, "If you don't have the money and you don't have the parts and you don't have the maintenance, then you fly less."
He continued, "If you fly less and maintain slower, there's a higher likelihood of accidents. So, we're worried."
The Navy has suffered the heaviest losses of the three military branches since October 2014.
From that time through April 2016, the Navy has reported accidents that total over $1 billion in damages, according to statistics provided to CNN by the Naval Safety Center. They included a Marine AV-8B Harrier jet that crashed off the East Coast during takeoff in May, costing about $62.8 million, and a Navy F/A-18A crash in Nevada in January that cost $71 million. Both pilots survived.
In joint congressional testimony in April, the senior naval leadership overseeing aviation, Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis and Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, reiterated Paxton's contention that planes and funds are running short.
"We continue to have lower than acceptable numbers of aircraft available to train and fight," he said.
Grosklags said that the 2013 budget cuts known as sequestration had caused the Navy to lose about 10% of its maintenance crews for some of its older planes, including the F/A-18, which first entered service in 1983 and whose planned 30-year life-span has been repeatedly extended due to increased combat operations and lack of replacement jets.
The issue is compounded by the fact that the Navy's replacement plane, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, has been repeatedly delayed and is not scheduled to reach initial operating capability until 2018.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been beset by spiraling costs, failed testing and schedule delays. The F-35 program had originally promised 1,013 fighters by fiscal year 2016 but has only delivered 179 as of April. The Navy's version will be the last to reach initial operating capability.
The Marines, however, suffered the deadliest military aviation tragedy in years when two CH-53 helicopters crashed while on training flight in Hawaii in January, killing 12 Marines. The Navy estimates that the crash cost nearly $110 million.
Describing the CH-53s in March, Davis said, "They are getting old and wearing out. We can only keep them going for so long."
When Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked about the increased rate of accidents in March, the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, attributed the increase in "our mishap rate" to a lack of training resources.
"The simple fact is that we don't have enough airplanes to meet the training requirements for the entire force," he said.
The Air Force, for its part, has also experienced a significant number of accidents.
Since October 2014, the Air Force has had 27 "Class A mishaps," accidents that result in a fatality, loss of an aircraft, or property damage of $2 million or more involving fixed-wing aircraft, an Air Force public affairs officer told CNN.
But Air Force Public Affairs Officer Capt. Annmarie Annicelli noted that the rate of accidents has decreased in 2016 compared to fiscal year 2015, saying that at this point last year, the Air Force had 13 Class A mishaps compared to eight this year.
According to an analysis of the statistics provided before the June incidents, the Air Force has lost over $526 million in damaged or destroyed aircraft since October 2014, nearly half of that from downed F-16s, another plane that is due to be replaced in part by the long-delayed F-35A.
During that period, the Air Force lost a B-52 Stratofortress after a crash in Guam in May, a C-130J transport plane after an October accident in Afghanistan and a RC-135 crashed in April 2015. The latter two crashes resulted in $174 million in damage to both the planes and surrounding environment.
Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force vice chief of staff, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March that the average age of the Air Force's aircraft is 27 years old. The F-16s involved in Tuesday's collision first entered service in 1993.
The Army has also faced issues with its aircraft, primarily helicopters such as the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache.
The Army's Combat Readiness Center told CNN that the Army had 19 Class A aviation accidents resulting in 6 fatalities from October 2014 to October 2015, including a UH-60 crash near Fort Hood, Texas, which cost the lives of four soldiers.
Appearing at the same Senate Armed Services hearing with Neller, the chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley, said the increase in Class A accidents "has our attention," citing efforts to increase training hours for helicopter pilots.
"Our aircraft accidents have increased and we are very concerned about it," he said.
Top military leaders have said that while they want to increase training, they have had to prioritize combat operations at the expense of other activities in an era of restricted budgets.
Goldfein told Congress, "25 years of continuous combat coupled with budget instability and lower-than-planned top lines have made the Air Force one of the smallest, oldest and least ready in our history."
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
U.S. Apache helicopters have entered the fight in Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters. “Commanders have used the Apache capability that we positioned there and that [President Barack Obama] authorized them to use some months ago,” Carter said as he traveled to Brussels for meetings with his fellow NATO defense ministers. .
An ISIL target in Iraq was destroyed in an Apache strike, Carter said, noting this is the “first time that it’s been called into action, and effectively” in the ISIL fight.
U.S. and Iraqi commanders decided the aircraft “could be effective in helping those forces that are positioning themselves for the two-forked envelopment of Mosul,” Carter said, adding “That’s what it was used for — to help them along their way“.
The June 12 strike was in support of Iraqi security forces operating in the Tigris River Valley, a Defense Department spokesman said, adding that the strike was vetted and approved through the same process the coalition uses for all strikes.
“The Apache strike destroyed [an ISIL] vehicle-borne improvised explosive device near Qayyarah, Iraq,” the spokesman said.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Growth of S’pore’s air travel sector will outpace that of several neighbouring markets, says global aviation body
The number of air travellers and aviation-related jobs in Singapore could more than double in 20 years, according to a new study by a global airline body. This would increase the industry’s contribution to Singapore’s gross domestic product by the same quantum to an estimated US$65 billion (S$88 billion) in 2035, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Singapore will remain one of the smallest air travel markets in the Asia- Pacific by passenger numbers but its growth will outpace that of several neighbouring markets including Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong.
The forecast bodes well for Singapore, which is investing billions in new infrastructure and facilities to prepare for the growth in Asia’s air travel market, industry experts said.
Changi Airport Terminal 4 will open next year and plans are afoot for T5, a mega passenger terminal to be built about 1.6km away from the existing airport premises. By the time T5 is ready, likely by the end of the next decade, Changi will be able to handle up to 135 million passengers a year, up from 66 million now.
IATA expects that, in 2035, Singapore will handle about 117 million passengers – 87 per cent of the planned capacity. The projection takes into account factors including the region’s growth trends and economic indicators.
The growth will bring opportunities for the aviation industry and related sectors such as the retail and hotel industries, he said.
The Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) is gearing up for the new jobs that will be created, particularly in the repair and maintenance of aircraft and parts.
There are several areas of focus, a spokesman said. The first is to develop aircraft repair capacity and infrastructure through investments at Seletar Aerospace Park and Changi – in tandem with the expansion of Changi Airport. Another priority is to improve productivity and competitiveness by investing in technology and automation, he said.
The study by IATA – the first of its kind for the region – aims to encourage governments and industry players to invest in the necessary infrastructure and services to take advantage of the industry uptrend.
It is estimated that, by 2030, there will be more people flying to, from and within Asia than Europe and North America combined, the association said.
“This growth is generating large regional economic impact from aviation. However, there is concern that the development of aviation infrastructure in the region is not keeping pace with growth in demand, putting some of the potential future economic benefits of aviation at risk,” the report said.
Aviation is a key driver of economic success, IATA said, citing Singapore as an example. While many factors have contributed to Singapore’s success as a trading centre and business hub, “the quality and range of air services available at the country’s main airport, Changi Airport, is a major, if not critical, contributing factor”, it said.
Singapore’s position as a global trading and business hub would not be possible without the high degree of air connectivity – passenger and cargo – provided by the airport, it added.
The air service at the airport also enables employees of multinational businesses to travel to clients, regional offices and global headquarters, it said. “Many of the businesses with regional headquarters in Singapore would not be located there without the mobility that the country’s air services provide.”
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Locals from the village of Kormina rush to save 2 very seriously injured military pilots for the crash site that saw a Gazelle Military helicopter crash near the capital of Podgorica.
The 2 injured pilots Colonel Namik Arifović and Lieutenant Colonel Miroljub Antanasijević, were immediately attended to by locals who did not hesitate to rescue the pilots as the turbine engines were still active. At one points they overturned the helicopter as seen in the footage to rescue one of the pilots.