THE FIRST ITALIAN BUILT EUROFIGHTER TRANCHE 3 TAKES TO THE SKIES — Press Release

image007The first Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3 made by Partner Company Alenia Aerrmacchi has successfully completed its first flight. The aircraft performed “very well,” according to Alenia Aermacchi test pilot Mario Mutti. The multi-role jet flew for about an hour. “All flight controls were exercised with the systems and aircraft performing as expected,”said Captain Mutti.

The aircraft is the 64th Eurofighter for the Italian Air Force and embodies a number of under the skin changes that effectively allow a full exploitation of the most advanced present and future capabilities of the platform and of its on-board systems and sensors.

Eurofighter Tranche 3 aircraft, with their 100s of modifications, changes and additions, represent a major achievement in the evolution of the world’s leading combat aircraft.

The Tranche 3 standard embodies a number of changes that effectively enhance the aircraft’s performance and which allow for future upgrades making it more attractive to current and potential export customers.

Photo courtesy: Alenia Aermacchi

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First M-346 Lavie trainer for the Israel Air Force rolls out in Italy

March 21, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Alenia Aeronautica, Italy, Syndicated Industry News 

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Israel’s First M-346 Lavi Advanced Trainer Taking Shape in Italy

November 8, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Alenia Aeronautica, Israel, Italy, Syndicated Industry News 

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New Air Force Planes Go Directly to ‘Boneyard’

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After 3 Months of Grounding, The Master is Airborne Again

August 27, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Alenia Aeronautica, Italy, Syndicated Industry News 

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Despite Budget Worries Programs Continue

The U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration may have pushed off the decision on sequestration and dealing with the planned budget cuts for the Defense Department but that does not mean development and new programs don’t continue. Using available funding the work goes on to advance these efforts 2 recent press releases illustrate this activity.

General Dynamics and Alenia Aermacchi Join Forces for U.S. Air Force T-X Trainer Competition — “General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, announced today the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to join forces and compete for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X trainer program, which will replace aging T-38 trainer jets and related training systems.” The American defense contractor will team up with Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi to propose a variant of the M-346 military aircraft trainer designated the T-100. The T-X program will replace the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 fleet. THe M-346 was recently selected by Israel to be their primary training aircraft.

Lockheed Martin JLTV Undergoes Successful Design Review — ” Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) family of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles successfully completed a top-to-bottom government design review in late December, well ahead of the first Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) JLTVs that will begin rolling off the assembly line this spring.” The JLTV is the planned replacement for the HUMVEE in use by the U.S. military and potentially its Allies. It will be a large program if fully executed as there will be a requirement for thousands of the vehicles. The U.S. is utilizing a process where multiple designs are being developed independently by contractors and then one or more may eventually be selected to go into Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) and then production.

The hard decisions facing U.S. defense budget decision makers is whether to cut back funding for these types of programs and make do with existing systems that may cost more in the long run to operate and maintain due to their age and capabilities. In the past it has been tempting to reduce investment in new systems beyond basic development to manage the size of the budget. If these types of programs continue it may mean cuts to current operations and force sizes to fee up the necessary investment requirements. The types of cuts required by sequestration will be hard to implement in the current budget but could be easier in future ones as more specific cuts may be made.

In the end if the cuts are carried out the U.S. will lose capability and may see new programs like these executed.

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Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) Facing Uncertain Future

The C-27J Spartan is a twin engined light transport aircraft purchased for the U.S. Air Force from a team made up of L-3 Communications (LLL) and Alenia North America, part of the Italian defence and industrial group Finmeccanica. The C-27 is not only used by the U.S. but other countries across the world.

The C-27 was the result of a program originally called the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) which was conceived by the Army as part of their plans caused by the decision to cancel the RH-66 Comanche helicopter in 2004. The Comanche was going to be a new attack and reconnaissance helicopter utilizing many new technologies to maximize its stealth and performance. In development for almost twenty years it finally had begun serious testing when it was cancelled. The money freed up was used to by systems like the UH-60M, the AH-64D Block III, CH-47F and UH-72A helicopters.

The Army suffered from a lack of internal heavy lift for intra-theater missions unlike the Marine Corps who possessed their own C-130 transports. The JCA was meant to add this capability and relieve the pressure on the rotary wing fleet primarily being used to carry cargo in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fixed wing assets would be more efficient and economical.

In 2007 the Army and Air Force selected the C-27 from L-3 and Alenia over bids by Raytheon (RTN), who had teamed with EADS North America, offering a Spanish made C-295 and Lockheed Martin (LMT) who proposed a C-130 version. An initial contract worth about $2 billion for 78 aircraft was awarded to the winners.

The JCA was made a joint program and it was originally planned to issue it to Army and Air Force National Guard units to operate. In 2010 the Obama administration decided to transfer the program wholly to the Air Force to manage and operate. The number of aircraft was potentially reduced and only the Air Force Guard would receive it.

The first unit stood up in 2011 in Ohio where four aircraft will be based at Mansfield. In 2013 the Connecticut and the North Dakota Guard are supposed to received the aircraft.

There are now concerns that the C-27 program may be on the chopping block due to budgetary pressures. The Connecticut unit may be the first to feel this pain although the 2012 budget as submitted does contain the funding for the aircraft it may not make it into the final budget.

The C-27 is not a priority for the Air Force and new equipment for the Guard also sometimes takes hits. If the Air Force leadership is forced to sacrifice some of their funding it may be the C-27 is what is given up. It is also a small program and is primarily oriented towards non-combat missions at this time further making it easier to give up.

As the budget goes through these machinations over the next few years other programs similar to the C-27 may be on the chopping block. That does not mean they will be eliminated but they could see cuts, delays and changes to their size, missions and deployment plans. These programs will have to rely on the Congressmen and Senators who represent the states where they are made or based to protect them through trading of priorities and support.

The size of the cuts the Defense Department must make dictate that whole programs whether in development of production will have to be cut. The C-27 might just be one of them.

Photo from Blyzz’s Flickr photostream.

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Alenia Aeronautica Concludes Successfully The First Flight Campaign In Italy Of The Sky-Y Unmanned Aircraft – Press Release

italian-1Alenia Aeronautica Concludes Successfully The First Flight Campaign In Italy Of The Sky-Y Unmanned Aircraft

With five missions the Sky-Y, Alenia Aeronautica’s unmanned technological demonstrator, has completed its first series of tests in Italy. With this tests campaign the Sky-Y has to day accumulated three test phases, two in Sweden and one in Italy.

Thanks to the Permit To Fly granted by ENAC – Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile (National Agency for the Civil Aviation), the Sky-Y has accomplished this flight testing cycle in an area in the Puglia Region, defined for this purpose.

The test campaign in Italy of the Sky-Y, the only European-made unmanned vehicle to make flight tests and the only one equipped with European sensors and production systems, has taken place in March, and has allowed the testing of some automatic functions of the ground surveillance mission systems; these are key elements to fully assess the operational capabilities of the production machines which will have in the future to be used for this role.

In particular, the tests campaign has brought to continuing the carrying out of the tests on the EOST-45 electro-optical sensor of SELEX Galileo – started in Sweden in the 2008 Autumn – and on the real-time data transmission via satellite.

In detail, the satellite link made by Telespazio has been used to test real-time data and images transmission with the Civil Defence Agency, during missions which simulated ground surveillance, fire control, detection and monitoring of boats’ and crafts’ traffic and of signalling of possible shipwrecked persons.

The tests recently completed in Italy have concerned also the functionalities of advanced management of the EOST-45 sensor, through an On Board Mission Computer (OBMC) provided with a software developed by Alenia Aeronautica; among such functionalities: target’s automatic tracking, automatic scan of pre-defined areas, definition of the geographical coordinates of the surface target under observation, on land and also, for the first time, on sea.

Thanks to these tests Alenia Aeronautica consolidates its own continental leadership in the technological and operational testing of unmanned aircraft. Alenia’s UAV technological demonstrator’s flights so far made are 48, of which 29 accomplished by the Sky-X and 19 by the Sky-Y. Such successes have been made also thanks to the support and collaboration of other Finmeccanica companies like SELEX Galileo and Telespazio, proving once more synergies and integration capabilities of the Group’s companies.

Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica Company, is the largest Italian aeronautic player which operates world-wide in the commercial and military aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostructures. Alenia Aeronautica also coordinates the activities of Alenia Aermacchi and Alenia Aeronavali – wholly owned companies – respectively active in the design and manufacturing of military trainer aircraft and in the overhaul, maintenance and modification of military and civil aircraft. With its joint ventures ATR, SCAC and Superjet International, Alenia Aeronautica is the world leader in the regional turboprop market and a top player in the regional jet sector. Over 2008 Alenia Aeronautica reported revenues of 2,530 millions Euro, backlog for 8,281 millions Euro and orders for 2,720. The total workforce is 13,907.

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