Japan’s Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft will make its global debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the U.K. on July 17-19. The two aircraft will then deploy to Djibouti for testing in hot and tropical conditions. The U.K. is expected to re-establish a requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft later this year, with the four-jet P-1 a contender.
Australian Department of Defense
The Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of the first of 10 Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan light tactical transports on June 30. Ordered in 2012 under an A$1.4 billion ($1 billion) acquisition, initial operational capability is planned for late 2016 with full capability by 2018.
Textron AirLand’s Scorpion light attack and reconnaissance aircraft has been evaluated by Bulgarian and UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots since making an appearance at the Paris air show in June. The aircraft was flown to Bulgaria for evaluation and is now in the U.K., where it participated in close-air-support and intelligence-gathering missions.
Airbus Helicopters formally unveiled its Bluecopter technology demonstrator on July 7. The modified H135 light twin is testing an “eco-mode” that shuts down one engine in cruise to boost fuel economy by 30%. Other changes are a five-blade main rotor with Blue Edge low-noise blades, quieter anti-torque fenestron and a T-tail with movable rudder.
Russian Helicopters is considering restarting production of the Mi-14PS maritime helicopter, last produced in 1986. Designed by Mil and produced by Kazan Helicopters, both now part of Russian Helicopters, the Mi-14 was a development of the Mi-8/17 with a hull and sponsons enabling it to operate from water.
Australia and the U.S. are to restage a free-flying scramjet test flight following the loss of telemetry from the first hypersonic vehicle just seconds before the experiment was to begin. Launched on a sounding rocket from Andoya, Norway, on March 30 under the HIFiRE program, the HF7 flight was descending at Mach 7.2 when telemetry dropped out. The repeat flight is planned for 2017.
With New Horizons on track to make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, spacecraft controllers resumed science observations on July 7 after identifying the cause of a shutdown on July 4. A timing flaw as a command sequence was being uploaded triggered an automatic switch to the backup flight computer, which then restored communications.
Pilot Hugues Duwal has flown across the English Channel in an electric-powered aircraft, beating Airbus. Duwal flew his Cri-CriE-Cristaline across the Channel on July 9. Airbus flew its E-Fan all-electric technology demonstrator across the Channel on July 10. The E-Fan flew from Lydd in the U.K. to Calais in France, a 46-mile, 36 min. flight.
Solar Impulse plans to launch the ninth leg of its solar-powered round-the-world attempt – Hawaii to Phoenix – once a battery cooling system is installed in the Solar Impulse 2. The aircraft completed its longest leg - a 117 hr, 52 min, 4,480-nm Pacific crossing from Nagoya to Hawaii - on July 3, pilot Andre Borschberg setting a record for solo flight. Battery heating is the only issue encountered so far.
An ATR technology demonstrator, built under the European Clean Sky research program’s Green Regional Aircraft program, made its first flight on July 8 from Toulouse. The ATR 72-600 prototype has been fitted with a composite upper fuselage panel with embedded acoustic damping and structural health monitoring. Six flights are planned.
Bombardier has conducted minimum-unstick testing with the C Series to determine the lowest speeds airline crews can use for normal takeoffs. The tests in May at Salina, Kansas, involved CS100 test aircraft FTV4 dragging its tail along the runway until the aircraft lifted off. An instrumented tail skid protected the fuselage.
Citing the demand they generate for U.S. products, the Aerospace Industries Association says it backs open skies policies wordwide, dealing a blow to the country’s three largest airlines, which are seeking to block U.S. expansion by Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
Rolls-Royce has issued a profit warning for 2015 and 2016, citing a greater than expected impact from reduced deliveries of the Trent 700 engine for the Airbus A330. The company says this is largely due to the upcoming transition to the Trent 7000 for the A330neo.
Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.