helicopters

US soldiers exercising in Japan as part of "Pacific Pathways"

PENTAGON: From hunting jungle animals to communicating across the ocean, US Army soldiers learned much in the first Pacific Pathways wargames that Iraq and Afghanistan never taught them. Those exercises are part of the service’s effort to reinvent itself as it shrinks, heading from a wartime peak of 570,000 to 450,000 or below. Instead of prolonged, large-scale… Keep reading →

Apache AH-64E in Afghanistan

PENTAGON: $473 million. That’s the amount the 2016 budget request would boost spending over 2015 to modernize the Army’s aging helicopter fleet.That’s a nine percent increase in a time of shrinking budgets, swelling aviation to more than the next two modernization accounts (ground vehicles and networks) combined. But the Army’s aircraft request may be dead on arrival.… Keep reading →

apache-over-afghanistan

ARLINGTON: You probably don’t plan to keep your current car for 20 years. But that’s what the US Army has to do with its helicopter fleet. With the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) helicopter stillborn for lack of funds and the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family not entering production until the 2030s, the Army has to invest carefully… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant concept for the Joint Multi-Role demonstrator, a predecessor to the Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

ARLINGTON: And then there were five. There were already going to be four different aircraft in the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family, from light to medium to heavy to “ultra.” Now it’s almost certain that the medium FVL will be split into two separate versions: a smaller attack/reconnaissance aircraft and a larger troop-carrying assault craft.… Keep reading →

Sikorsky VTOL X-Plane Concept DARPA

In the 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” fictional slime ball “King” Westley shows off by floating to a landing on the lawn of his fiancée’s daddy’s estate in a newfangled autogiro – an airplane with a rotor to enable short take offs and landings. Today, two Defense Department programs are striving to meet the… Keep reading →

USS Fort Worth, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 3.

The Littoral Combat Ship Fort Worth joined the search for the remains of Air Asia Flight QZ8501. This grim mission marked more than a real-world test of a new and controversial class of ship. It also shows why the Navy needs something like LCS at all. The Fort Worth started working this weekend with the… Keep reading →

Courtesy Northrop Grumman

Fire Scout makes it look easy to take off from a destroyer. It’s not. In video released today (above), the MQ-8C helicopter takes off from the destroyer Jason Dunham with its eyes closed — or rather with its cockpit windows painted over, because there’s nobody inside. Though derived from the widespread Bell 407, the Northrop… Keep reading →

A US Apache helicopter overflies FOB (Fo

WASHINGTON: A major battle is brewing between the regular Army and National Guard. While Congress has frozen the planned transfer of the Guard’s Apache gunships to active-duty units, the Army is already taking steps that may make it much harder to keep the helicopters in the Guard. The Aviation Restructure Initiative calls for all Apaches to be moved from the Guard… Keep reading →

Navy graphic

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: They get so big, so fast. Once a child-sized helicopter that could just collect reconnaissance imagery, the Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout has graduated to a bigger airframe that will also carry a maritime search radar and laser-guided rockets. The tentative plan is to kick off the competition for the new radar with… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant concept for the Joint Multi-Role demonstrator, a predecessor to the Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

WASHINGTON: The first Future Vertical Lift Aircraft won’t fly until the 2030s but the Army, Navy, and industry are already at work on software standards. Those include a new “model-based” approach to software architectures that will require a culture change among programmers and defense bureaucrats alike. Why take on so much so early? Because FVL will… Keep reading →

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