WASHINGTON: In a telling sign of the uncertain economic and spending climate in the defense world – faced with sequestration and the possibility of a year-long Continuing Resolution — at least three defense conferences have been cancelled in the last two months and defense companies continue to pare their participation in even the biggest shows, the air show in Paris and Farnborough.
Cancelation of the Military Health System Conference, set for Feb. 11-14, was announced in a memo signed by Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and the three service surgeon generals. In past years, the conference has attracted 3,000 attendees and exhibitors. Keep reading →
AUSA: Visitors to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s display at this year’s Association of the United States Army meetings in Washington can hardly miss an eye-popping marketing video the company is showing. Running on a huge flat screen hung at the entrance to the company’s spot on the show floor, the video uses simulation imagery of XBox quality to show how Sikorsky’s conceptual S-97 Raider – a compound helicopter based on the X2 Technology Demonstrator the company flew in 2010-2011 – would perform Armed Aerial Scout missions for the Army.
It’s a great show. Zooming through canyons at what looks like the S-97′s projected cruising speed of 220 knots – an impossibility for ordinary helicopters – a Raider in a formation of five uses a video downlink from a Predator drone to take out a group of heavily armed insurgents with laser-guided rockets, firing before the enemy can hear the helicopters coming. Then, at the request of ground troops, another Raider uses its mini-gun to kill six insurgents hiding in a tree line. Keep reading →
AUSA: The Army has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to announce that from that day on, the Block III version of Boeing Co.’s AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter will instead be designated the AH-64E. Program officials will make the announcement at this year’s annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, the largest yearly meeting of top service and industry officials.
The Army decided to replace “AH-64D Block III” with “AH-64E” after the Defense Acquisition Board, a high-level Pentagon committee, approved full rate production in August. The Army, which plans to buy 690 AH-64Es, decided the new designation is warranted because the soon-to-be “Echo” model of the Apache has so much more capability than the AH-64D Block I’s and Block II’s it’s replacing, the first of which came into service in 1997. Keep reading →