WASHINGTON: The Secretary of the Army defended today what he admitted was “an unconventional approach” to fielding the service’s cutting-edge AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, saying the only alternative to the current complex workaround would have been to “shut the line down” for a time.
“I will grant the unconventionality of it,” John McHugh said. “You could say it was an unconventional approach, but it was an unconventional situation.” Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The Army’s problem with its new Apache helicopters isn’t as bad as we thought when we first wrote about it last week. It’s worse.
We knew that Northstar Aerospace, the subcontractor making the transmissions for lead contractor Boeing, had fallen behind on building that crucial component. We knew at least seven of the latest model, the vaunted AH-64E Apache Guardian, had been built at some point without transmissions, rendering them unflyable until the part was finally installed. Keep reading →
The Army’s newest attack helicopter is on track, the colonel in charge said in response to congressional concerns: Delays in manufacturing transmissions for the Boeing-built AH-64E Guardian have neither driven up the price nor slowed its fielding to combat units.
[But there are still unflyable AH-64Es on the Army's hands: click here to read the latest on this story] Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Congress has asked the Army to explain why it has officially taken delivery of at least seven AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters that don’t have transmissions installed yet, Breaking Defense has learned. An unidentified subcontractor to Boeing which makes the helicopter, fell behind on building the transmissions and is now trying to catch up, but until it does, the high-tech gunships are unflyable.
[Click here for the Army's response and click here for relevations from Congress] Keep reading →
COLORADO SPRINGS, NATIONAL SPACE SYMPOSIUM: The Boeing Company, better known for building big satellites in clean rooms and charging big prices for them, has spotted what it thinks may be a sweet spot in the satellite market and plans to build prototypes of three small satellites to show the market what it can do.
The “key” reason for building smaller satellites very quickly is to avoid being left behind by Moore’s Law, which says that computer processing power doubles every 18 months, Bruce Chesley, director for advanced space and intelligence systems at Boeing said. “It’s taking advantage of smaller cheaper components and taking advantage of Boeing’s quality control and procedures.” Keep reading →
AFA Winter, ORLANDO: The latest looming casualty to the congressional budget mess is Boeing’s KC-46 tanker contract, which is in peril unless Congress approves roughly $1 billion in funding.
If you want some idea of just how much uncertainty and confusion sequestration and the Continuing Resolution are generating, this latest mess is a good example. The Secretary of the Air Force cannot tell exactly how much money is needed or when because of the overlapping confusion caused by the CR and sequestration. Keep reading →
Sikorsky, Boeing signed Jan. 13 teaming agreement for 1st phase of Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) tech demo, part of Future Vertical Lift ColinClarkAol
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Degraded Visual Environment, or DVE, is jargon for the problem helicopter pilots face when their rotors kick up blinding clouds of dust or other debris. DVE also describes the problem the entire rotorcraft industry is facing as it tries to anticipate what new aircraft the Army can actually afford in this blindingly uncertain federal budget situation. At this week’s Army Aviation Symposium, hosted outside Washington by the Association of the United States Army, the future was obscured by the fog, not of war, but of funding.
“We’re trying to see 20 years into the future, really,” said EADS. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Army aviation leaders thought they had a plan to start developing a new Armed Aerial Scout all teed up for the vice chief of staff’s approval last month. But Gen. Lloyd Austin III said, “no.”
It was the latest twist in a 21-year (and counting) saga to replace the Army’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, a Vietnam-vintage design. The interminable effort to build a new reconnaissance helicopter has started to resemble the legendary quest for the Holy Grail. Keep reading →
At 1:03 pm today, the US Air Force launched a robotic space plane that can stay in orbit for over a year. That’s good news for the nation’s troubled space program. The X-37B, as it’s called, is pretty cool — and highly classified. But beyond the veil of secrecy, what’s it really good for? The answer is intriguing but hardly obvious.
First of all, despite some overheated speculation, the Boeing-built X-37B is probably not a space fighter, a space bomber or some kind of satellite-killer to take on the burgeoning Chinese space program. For long-range strikes on ground targets, the Air Force has a much more modest — and affordable — program for a Next-Generation Bomber, basically a souped-up B-2 that won’t even break the speed of sound, let alone reach orbit. And the military has had working anti-satellite weapons since the 1980s: The current satellite-killer is the Standard Missile SM-3, which launches off the Navy’s Aegis ships. You don’t need a robot space plane to do either job. Keep reading →