Jane's 'reports' below.
Hard to believe they
had no questions regarding
I wonder if China will try to buy it???
Iran shows its helicopter expertise
By Paul Beaver
Details of Iran's helicopter industry have been revealed in detail for the first time at IDEX 2001. The strong presence of the Iran Helicopter Support & Renewal Company (IHSRC) has added weight to claims by the country's Aviation Industries Organisation that it is the "leading helicopter maintenance centre in the Middle East".
IHSRC supports 14 types of helicopters in military and government service, most of which are US-designed types delivered before the fall of the Shah. In addition, Iran has been developing its own variants of the US designs, using expertise developed under the pressures of isolationism. Civilian parts and sub-assemblies have been procured across the world, many of which are directly applicable to the military types in service, including the Bell 205, 206, 209, 212 and 214.
Currently featured in Jane's All The World's Aircraft is the AVA-505, which shows a configuration similar to the Bell 206, with a cabin profile not dissimilar to the Aerospatiale Gazelle. It was in stage design by 1996 and has recently been flown for the first time. Despite isolation, Iran has created the helicopter, named Thunder, to US Federal Aviation Regulations Part 27.
Another Bell 206 look-alike is the IHSRC's own development, the Panha 2061. The ubiquitous Bell 205 has also been re-engineered by IHRSC and, in 1998, the company announced the Panha 2-75 Shabaviz; models of both are on display in the Iranian national area of Hall 1.
Both have undisclosed non-US power plants and the fuselage parts were made at the Parts Fabrication Centre at Mehrabad Airport, near Tehran. The centre can design and anufacture metallic and non-metallic parts, including plexiglass windshields and panels of polycarbonate material.
The overhaul and re-build facilities were severely tested during the 1980-88 First Gulf War. This war emergency led to the creation of an integrated repair system, including the formation of the Helicopter Depot Maintenance Centre.
After extensive military service in the war against Iraq, most of the Agusta-built Boeing CH-47 Chinook medium lift helicopters were re-built at Mehrabad. This work included main rotorblade fabrication and balancing. The necessary jigs and fixtures were built.
Iran's promotion of its helicopters at IDEX 2001 dispels reports that the Iranian forces have been struggling to keep their Western types in the air. It is possible that IHSRC has been back-engineering several of the simpler models, including the Bell 206 JetRanger and 209 Cobra light attack helicopter.
IHSRC claims that by 1985, it had developed the means to overhaul the Sikorsky RH-53D Stallion medium lift helicopter, originally delivered for mines countermeasures. The RH-53D operates today from amphibious assault ships.
Helicopter safety promoted
By Brian Walters
The latest in helicopter protection technology is being promoted by BAE Systems to meet a perceived need to equip combat aircraft in the Gulf region. It comes in the form of the HIDAS and TERPROM systems, which are both mature and in service with a growing number of forces.
The Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System (HIDAS) recently achieved a significant milestone when it underwent extensive ground and flight trials in the USA. Produced by the Avionics facility of BAE Systems, HIDAS identifies, prioritises and counters threats to the helicopter within seconds and without the need for crew intervention.
The company claims that the system is unique for its degree of integration, use of "best in class" sensors and intelligent software controller. Indeed, the HIDAS software creates a coherent tactical picture using composite information from the three threat warning sensors. It then provides the data that enables HIDAS to recognise threatening weapon systems before selecting and implementing appropriate countermeasures. These can range from manoeuvre advice to directed IR countermeasures and RF jammers.
HIDAS can be used in an automatic, semi-automatic or manual mode, thereby offering significant operational benefits to Apache aircrews. This is achieved by increasing their situational awareness, reducing the time to react to threats and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of countermeasures.
Safety of a rather different kind can be provided by the company's Helicopter TERPROM system. This uses stored digital terrain elevation data, together with input from the aircraft's inertial navigation system, to provide a highly accurate, drift-free navigation solution. This is used to provide predictive terrain awareness information free from detectable forward electronic emissions (in this way avoiding warning the enemy of the aircraft's approach).
TERPROM is widely used by such fast jets as the F-16, Mirage 2000, Harrier GR7, Jaguar, Tornado, A-10 and Eurofighter Typhoon, and in its transport variant - TAWS (Terrain Awareness Warning System) - has been selected for the USAF Boeing C-17 fleet. Now in its latest guise, TERPROM provides enhanced situation awareness and safety during low-level helicopter operations, including nap-of-the-earth flying. The US Navy is the latest service to select the system and plans to conduct flight demonstrations on board some of its helicopters. Similar, highly successful trials have been undertaken in the UK using British Army Lynx helicopters.
DCI completes Gulf helicopter work
By Paul Beaver
French government defence support agency Défense
Conseil International (DCI)
Land forces service provider COFRAS has just completed the last Gazelle light helicopter upgrade for the Kuwait Air Force. Each airframe and Turbomeca engine was completely rebuilt in Kuwait with technology transfer and training provided to the KAF.
Quality control was certified by Veritas, a
French quality assurance agency, and it is thought that the Gazelles will
now have another 12 years of useful life in sometimes very trying
Since 1991's Liberation, COFRAS has been maintaining the KAF helicopter fleet of Gazelle, Puma and Cougar types, all originally built by Eurocopter. Neither contract budgets have been disclosed.
DCI's naval partner, NAVFCO has also recently completed training under the auspices of Project Alcyon. Between May last year and last month, a number of UAE Navy helicopter crews were trained in France for search and rescue and operational anti-submarine warfare tasks. The second phase of training in Eurocopter Panther and Super Puma helicopters will take place in the UAE for the next two years.
NAVFCO is currently carrying out Sea Skua missile training for the Kuwait Navy on eight CMN-built patrol boats delivered last year. The MBD Sea Skua anti-ship missile has been successfully integrated and live firing is expected during training.
By Paul Beaver
Strong interest by the Royal Saudi Air Force to develop state-of-the-art combat rescue helicopter techniques convinced Eurocopter to carry out a series of tests with the Cougar Mk 2 last year. Although the tests were concluded in October, the results have only been made public at IDEX.
The Show Daily carries the first pictures of the Cougar 'plugged in' to the Hercules tanker aircraft during trials flights at the Istres Flight Test Centre. These were followed by further tests at Air Base 125 in the Kingdom. The helicopter is shown taking fuel from the Hercules' port probe and drogue system.
During the test flights, the helicopter's complete
flight regime was trialled, including operations at maximum all-up weight with a
full external stores fit, including 20mm cannon.
Among the tests were partial in-flight refuelling with 500 lb and 1,000 lb of fuel. Finally, a full refuelling trial was completed when 5,500 lb of fuel was transferred in less than 15 minutes. Cougar Mk 2 is now certified for in-flight refuelling by the French DGA.
The 11-tonne Cougar CSAR helicopter has now been designated the EC 725, when upgraded with in-flight refuelling equipment and a five-bladed main rotor system.
First deliveries to the French Air Force of the 14 EC 725 Cougar helicopters on order will begin in 2003 and the planned ISD is 2004, with four helicopters delivered. The helicopter was formerly designated as the Cougar Mk 2+. Full military CSAR certification is due by 2003. The new Cougar variant has a higher military payload, a 16.2m new rotor, a reinforced main gearbox, uprated Turbomeca Makila 1A4 turboshaft engines (1,800 kW/2,413shp) and new integrated electronic displays.
Oman confirms helicopter, F-16 buy
By Paul Beaver
Reports from Oman, as the first Show Daily closed for press, confirm rumours earlier in the week that the Royal Air Force of Oman has an intention to purchase a major equipment package, including combat jets and helicopters.
Helicopters selected are the GKN Westland Super Lynx 300 as the RAFO's first shipborne helicopter and up to six Agusta A109/AB139 for the police force. The total rotary-wing contract could be worth more than US$150 million, according to sources at IDEX 2001. Reports in Italy speak of the total Omani requirement for more than 15 helicopters to replace existing Agusta-Bell types.
Besides the helicopters, the RAFO will procure a number of Lockheed Martin F-16s and associated weapon systems and sensors. The equipment buys are part of a major five-year re-equipment programme that already includes the Alvis Desert Piranha.
This is the first business for the newly merged helicopter firm AgustaWestland. The company has a large order book that places it as the world's No 2. Besides the Lynx, the company sells the A109 family, A129 light attack helicopter, the EH101 Merlin family, as well as the medium category AB139, a joint development between Bell and Agusta.