Indian Air Force Mi-17V-5 Helicopter Crashes While Conducting Rescue Mission In Flood Ravaged Area; 20 Fatalities.


A Macedonian Air Force Helicopter similar to the one that crashed in India
A Macedonian Air Force Helicopter similar to the one that crashed in India

A Mi-17V-5 helicopter belonging to the Indian Air Force and flying rescue missions to rain-affected areas crashed today near Gaurikund, India. The doomed chopper had been on his third rescue mission of the day carrying 20 people on board including 5 IAF personnel along with National Disaster Management Authority para military rescue crews assigned to the relief mission.


The chopper who had been returning to Gauchar after its 3rd sortie of the day to rain disaster sites in Guptakashi and Kedarnath crashed in very bad weather on its return leg to Gauchar.


The 8 fatalities initially announced accounted solely for those whose bodies had been recovered while it is becoming more likely that all 20 occupants aboard the aircraft may have perished.

India’s times report that the Russian made Mi-17V-5 helicopterhad been based at Barrackpore Air Force Station in west Bengal and was participating in the massive rescue and evacuation effort that has transported more than 90,000 people following massive flooding. It is reported that 822 people have been killed due to the flooding while 8,000 people remain stranded


Cause of the crash are still not known but the Mi-17V-5 helicopter entered service with the IAF just last year and is considered state-of-the-art. It is reported that interest in the type from India first materialized into a firm order for 80 units worth an estimated $1.375 Billion in December 2008. While a follow up order for an additional 71 aircraft worth $ 1.3 Billion was signed in December 2012. The downed copter belongs to the first batch of aircraft delivered to India from February 2012. An investigation has been initiated following a Court of Inquiry order.





timesofindia online




SAS To Order 8 A350-900 To Replace A340 & 4 A330-300 Enhanced. Long Haul Fleet To Receive Cabin Upgrades.


SAS A330-300
SAS A330-300

SAS announced that it had signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with Airbus for the purchase of 12 new aircraft plus 6 options for its long haul fleet.


The $3.3 Billion package that will be financed via sales/lease back and export credit financing. Under the deal some existing aircraft will also receive cabin upgrades. The newly revamped modern long haul fleet secures a lower operating cost and a sustainable growth on the short and longer term.


The carrier will initially receive 4 A330-300 Enhanced as early as the middle of 2015. By 2018, 8 new A350-900 will begin arriving in time to replace the current A340 whose leases are due to expire. Options for another 6 A350-900 have also been secured.


The cabin upgrades that are due to be completed in 2015 will keep the ‘interim fleet’ relevant by incorporating amenities like newer HD Video On demand system as well as fully flat business class seats on seven currently deployed A330 (3) and A340 (4) aircraft.


The A330-300 Enhanced alongside the A330-300.

The A330-300 normally seats 295 passengers when configured in 3 classes and 335 in two. It has a length of 63.6m (208 ft 11 in) and uses the 222 inches fuselage cross section shared among the A330/A340 and now A350 family.


The Enhanced version will introduce by the middle of the year 2015 a newer Higher Maximum Take Off Weight variant of the A330 family brought up to 242 Tonnes from 235 Tonnes originally. From an operational standpoint the aircraft which also burns 2% less fuel benefits from an increase of more than 5 tonnes of payload. By carrying more fuel, the -Enhanced shows 500 nm more legs making it capable of pushing past the 6,050 nm (11,200 km.) range. The aircraft retains a pair of either RR Trent 700, GE CF6-80E1 or PW4000 -series engine all advertised with thrust between 68,000 and 72,000 lb (303 to 320 kN) slst (sea level static thrust).


Enter the A350-900, Exit the A340-300


SAS long haul fleet has relied on 7 A340-300 whose 3-class cabin configuration permits 46 passengers in Business Class, 28 in Economy Extra and 171 in Economy seating for 245-seats total while the identical size A330-300 accept 264 passengers (34-35-195). The A340-300 would typically fly far out to 7,400 nm (13,700 km) relying on 4 CFM56-5C4/P high bypass turbofan engines.

With a fuselage length of 66.89 m (219 ft 5 in), the A350-900 is completely new aircraft design that comfortably can fly out to 8,100 nm (15,000) km with 314 passengers in typical 3-class configuration (compared to 295 for similarly configured A330/A340). The 20% increase in seating capacity as recognized by SAS along with 30% lower fuel burn per passenger and a 50 % reduction in noise (against the A340) will connect an unprecedented number of city pairs. The city-pair concept along with the properly sizing passenger density on their routes are key to operators. It is normally recognized that new routes require years of operation before becoming mature in terms of passengers density. Hence a smaller-capacity aircraft with lower operating cost is better optimized to reduce the risk of operating on newer route where a profit may not be realized instantly. For the long haul, aircraft with ultra long range capabilities such as the A350 with their lower operating cost can help carrier start and develop new city-pair routes that were previously out of range for twin engines (older Boeing 767 and A330). After years of steadily growing passenger traffic one can surmise that frequency will increase and/or very large aircraft such as 777-300ER or even 747-8 and A380 will be required on a mature route.


In the A350, SAS has recognized the benefits of altogether terminating quad engine A340 operation. Superior range and much lower operating cost along with modern passenger comfort will play well in increasing flights and innovating products on routes feeding its Global hubs. With membership in the 28-airlines strong Star Alliance global network and advantageous market share in the nordic countries the carrier will.


After Controversy Over Sensitive Technology, Boeing Finally Allowed To Complete Mid-Life Upgrade Of 4 French E3-F AWACS To Block 40/45 Configuration


A UK AWACS Flanked By 2 Tornados. the 4 CFM-56 High By-Pass Ratio Turbofans
A UK AWACS Flanked By 2 Tornados. the 4 CFM-56 High By-Pass Ratio Turbofans

Boeing has resumed work on the Mid Life Upgrade program for the four Boeing E3-F AWACS flying with the French Air Force.As Boeing’s main subcontract on the project, Air France Industries will undertake most of the work at its main facility at Le Bourget Airport near Paris. Boeing is nonetheless retaining most of the main engineering and quality assurance responsibilities. The first AWACS to receive the upgrade should be able to return to service in 2014 while the rest of the fleet will fly the upgrade by 2016. The works consist of $354 million worth of hardware and software improvements. Once available on the French Air Force four E3-F AWACS, the only other user of the highly advanced variant will be the USAF as none of the others AWACS operators(NATO’ s 17 E3-C, UK’s 7 E3-D, Saudi Arabia 5 E3 nor even Japan‘s more recent E-767 platform) can claim yet such capabilities.Illustrating the might of the systems upgrades, fears that sensitive technology would be transferred to a foreign nation even prompted a stop-work order being issued in September of 2012.Adding insult to injury, a proposal to sale France a degraded version of the Block 40/45 even envisioned the client disbursing an extra $5 million in engineering cost.

 That idea did not take hold following a risk review prompted by the US government, the project finally received clearance as initially specified in 2010.

The Block 40/45 Capabilities

As a previous in depth block 40/45 analysis from a previous entry recognized:

… the Block 40/45 configuration represents AWACS latest set of upgrades integrating the aircraft capabilities mostly through yet newer software based implementations. The New Generation IFF (NGIFF) provides more secure transponder-based Secondary Surveillance Radar SSR Mode 5 capabilities over longer range and with implementation of the Mode S civilian aircraft feature.

The Block 40/45 is also incorporating additional modern aids to navigation that will bring the aircraft always more in line with FAA/ICAO/EUROCONTROL safety of flight rules . The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation (DRAGON) initiative has been the driving force for the sourcing of a fully Components-Off-The-Shelf COTS Flight Management Systems avionics architecture. Funding for Required Flight Performance RFP capability in 2009 would allow pilots to conduct more fuel efficient computed take-offs, cruise, approaches and landings.

Net-Centric Capability (NCC) is finally merging with the Airborne Web Service data Access and sharing paradigm to enjoy greater benefits. In that logic connectivity is enhanced by fully IP-based Beyond-Line-Of-Site BLOS IP SATCOM. The introduction of robust chat services as the privileged medium of communication between war fighters is also mirrored aboard the aircraft. The new IP/ethernet connectivity architecture is reinforcing the open architecture solutions approach as well as providing incentive for cheaply interconnecting off-board and on-boards sensors via tactical data links. The well tested JTIDS is set to receive yet a newer Open Architecture based display employing a DII COE (Common Operating Environment) compatible Operating Systems (a choice from IBM AIX, HP-UX, Windows NT, Solaris 8, Red Hat Linux)…”

 In all the AWACS mid life upgrade brings decisive engineering advantages to France’s ability to continue sourcing replacement parts. After all the AWACS still relies on the 1950’s 707 platform and is also equipped with the 1970’s AN/APY-2 radar antenna and supporting equipment. The replacement of an older IBM mainframe with networked workstations just illustrates the shift in maintainability that the Block 40/45 open architecture brings about. The operational gains for France are as well far reaching; precision navigation capabilities conforming with Eurocontrol protocols and real-time tactical data interchange with France’s Tiger attack helicopters. Most of these gains bring readily observable “mission value” to operators and planners alike. As with the USAF, France’s AWACS fleet is now set to remain in service well into the year 2030.



AWACS Upgrades For Boeing E-3 Sentry And Japan Boeing E-767 (Part 1)

AWACS Upgrades Part II: RSIP, Block 40/45 and ScanEagle UAV


Airbus Celebrates The First Flight Of Its New A350XWB

File:Airbus A350-900 Maiden Flight (Low pass) 1.JPGToday’s June 14th 2013 marked a pivotal moment in Airbus industry history as its newly designed A350XWB airplane took to the sky for the first time. The innovative twin engine wide body aircraft is conceived to be highly fuel efficient (25% lower burn than current technology) would allow the European plane manufacturer to challenge head-on Boeing’s state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner. The test aircraft registered as F-WXWB landed at Toulouse Blagnac field at 2:05pm local time after having departed at 10:00 am local time. The crew of six operating the flight comprised the two test pilots accompanied by four test flight engineers, one of whom was assigned to monitoring the performance of the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines powering the aircraft. The flight testing program which has officially been initiated by today’s 4 hours and 5 minutes’ duration flight will be strengthened as another four aircraft are added. This will take the type through the projected 2,500 flight hours needed prior to gaining European (EASA) and US (FAA) certification. By late 2014, Qatar Airways is programmed to officially become the first carrier to receive one of the 613 aircraft ordered to date by some 33 customers.

Innovative Engine Designs

The two Rolls Royce Trent XWB high bypass turbofan engines that power the A350XWB play a significant role in delivering the astounding 25% reduction in both fuel consumption and CO2 emission. The sole engine selected by Airbus to power the type, the Trent XWB will equip the three variants A350-800 /-900/ -1000 within specifically designated thrust class. The Trent engines highly efficient design approach emphasizes lighter weight and advanced aerodynamics concepts such as the use of compressor blisk (bladed disk), and contra-rotation operation mode. They are made of completely new materials whose availability is due to the use of advanced manufacturing technology. The Trent XWB engine is also made to be environmentally friendly, it emits much lower NOx (nitrogen oxide), smoke, CO (carbon monoxide) and hydrocarbons. It is also benefit carriers with a very quiet operation rated at 15 EPNdb Effective Perceived Noise decibel.

Lightweight Composite Materials

The new aircraft fuselage benefits from a lower relative weight by virtue of being constituted at 53% from advanced composite materials such as carbon fiber. Being made of ‘plastic’ can make the plane more resistant to general fatigue due to cyclical operations and exposure to the elements.

Flight Deck

The state of the art cockpit presents integrated aircraft operating functions to six flight displays for the two pilots. The cockpit provides continuity in the line of the A380 series cockpit for which Rockwell Collins provides most of the equipment: on board information management systems for advanced health monitoring and diagnostics for maintenance and sustainable operation purpose, communication systems, According to Rockwell Collins: “The Multi-Mode Receiver provides Instrument Landing System and GPS Landing System capabilities and Space Based Augmentation System, as well as the aircraft’s position, velocity and time reference “ and also: “The Digital Radio Altimeter provides precise height measurements above terrain during aircraft approach, landing and climb-out phases of flight. This information is provided to the automatic flight control system, instrument system and terrain awareness and warning system.” Part of the on board systems packaged by Rockwell Collins feature the ADF-900 Automatic Direction Finder, the DME-2100 Distance Measuring Equipment, the VOR-900 VHF Omnidirectional Radio receiver and the Automatic Direction Finder (ADF-900). The flight avionics system data communication network relies on AFDX protocol.

The Market Landscape

Airbus offers three variants of its new A350 XWB aircraft the -800, -900 and -1000.

-Typically A 3-class configured A350-800 XWB would carry 270 passengers at ranges of 8,500 nm or 15,750 km. The A350-800 length is 198 ft 7 in or 60.54 m. The two ultra efficient Rolls Royce Trent engines provide each 79,000 lbs or 337 kN of thrust. The aircraft wingspan is 212 ft 5 in (64.75 m). Airbus has received 89 orders for this variant.

-The A350-900 variant of whom 414 aircraft have been ordered measures 219 ft 5 in or 66.89 m in length. This variant seats 314 passengers in the same baseline 3-class cabin configuration and have a same wingspan of 212 ft 5in (64.75 m) as the -800. This aircraft can operate on 15,000 km (8,100 nm) long trip. The Trent engines mounted to the -900 are rated in the 84,000 lbs slst (374 kN) thrust class.

-The A350-1000 is the biggest variant of the family for which 110 orders have been received. It is large enough to carry 350 passengers. At 242 ft 5 in or 73.78 m in length, this is the ultimate stretch variant for the A350XWB. Thrust provided by two 97,000 slst (432 kN) class RR XWB Trent can power the -1000 far out to ranges of 8,400 nm (15,600 km).

The competition

Boeing eminently successful current 777-300ER with its length of 242 ft 4in (73.9 m) can in fact fall within range of the A350-1000 payload and performance capabilities. Boeing giant twin engine is conceived to carry up to 386 passengers in 3 class at ranges of 7,930 nm (14,690 km). This has provided Boeing with enough reason to launch a newer and larger version of the very successful 777 that will address such concerns by adding payload or range, while improving basic operating economics. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the meantime with its length of 186 feet (or 57 m) for the 787-8 when configured for 210 passengers in 3-class is a much smaller aircraft. The stretched 787-9 variant that can accommodate 290 passengers on 8,500 nm (15,750 km) long trip and upcoming 320-seats 787-10 320 seats offer better payload. Overall Boeing would be content just replacing the aging 767 line (-200/-300/-400) with the much smaller 787 family, the 890 orders to date prove it. The A350XWB instead is more akin to a highly fuel efficient A330 replacement. The 63.69 m (208 ft 11in) -long A330 that typically seats 295 passengers fits right between the A350 XWB -800 and -900 dimension. This may be a market segment where operator can not only benefit from the A350XWB 25% fuel reduction but also open new city pair route that were previously out of reach for the A330. With 1,200 units (-200/-300) sold and many more than 20 years old, the A330 seems to have found a potent in-family successor.