helicopters

Joint MultiRole Bell Valor

Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →

Combat Proven sticker Paris Show 2015

PARIS AIR SHOW: Crowds thronged around the French Defense Ministry pavilion today, chatting with Rafale fighter pilots and the engineers who helped build the planes. It was a most unusual sight, all those civilians — with a fairly high percentage of women — listening intently to and then chatting with the pilots, who also stood in… Keep reading →

Paris Air Show overall

WASHINGTON: At least the US military is attending the Paris Air Show in some force this year, but right now none of the American aircraft pictured below are scheduled to fly at the show. Some 90 US military personnel will be on hand to maintain the aircraft and safeguard them. Here’s the list of military aircraft that… Keep reading →

Kai Boyce makes a repair in the APU compartment on the aft right side of an F/A-18 hornet at Cecil Commerce Center.

CAPITOL HILL: Marines pride themselves on being ready for anything. But as of today, 19 percent of their air fleet is out of action “long-term” awaiting repairs and spares, the deputy commandant for aviation said today. “It’s 158 — actually, today, 159 aircraft — that the taxpayer paid $8.4 billion dollars for,” said Lt. Gen.… Keep reading →

army-ah-64e-apache-guardian-attack-helicopter

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s hardest-nosed accountants have endorsed the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative. ARI is a controversial cost-cutting plan which would retire the Vietnam-vintage OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters and replace them with AH-64 Apache gunships taken from the National Guard. The Army said ARI, once fully implemented, would save $1.09 billion a year. In a document… Keep reading →

AH-64E with Gray eagle

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.: Manned-Unmanned Teaming, when manned aircraft crews control drones from their cockpit, is a child of the drone revolution still in its infancy. So maybe it’s no surprise that Army Apache helicopter units with new AH-64Es equipped to control MQ-1C Grey Eagle armed drones have gotten off to a crawl rather than a run using… Keep reading →

Maj. Gen. Michael Lundy Army Aviation

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.: You’re the Army and you really, really want a new, more powerful and efficient engine for most of your helicopter fleet. It’s really urgent. But you’re not going to get those engines for your UH-60  Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters for at least another 11 years. What’s the reason? Good old… Keep reading →

A Sikorsky drawing of their H-92 helicopter in its future role as "Marine One."

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.: The new presidential helicopter made its first flight in December, the Marine Corps colonel in charge of the program revealed this morning. That was only seven months after contract award, a stark contrast to the multi-year delays that killed the previous program, the VH-71. But don’t get too excited. No miracles are… Keep reading →

Gen. Frank Grass

CAPITOL HILL: It’s not every day you hear a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asking Congress to undo part of the administration’s budget proposal. But National Guard Bureau director Gen. Frank Grass is in a unique position, the only chief caught between the Pentagon and the states. So this morning, Gen. Grass explicitly… Keep reading →

AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter

PENTAGON: “You ever seen what an attack helicopter does to a small boat? That’s a Cuisinart.” The Navy’s long been nervous about the survival of its high-cost high-seas warships in coastal knife fights. (That anxiety drove the development of the controversial Littoral Combat Ship). Iran, in particular, is notorious for its shallow water mini-submarines and… Keep reading →

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