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AEROSPACE
Airbus expected to lead light military helicopter market, report says
by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) Oct 25, 2017


Britain extends helicopter pilot training contract
Washington (UPI) Oct 25, 2017 - Britain's Ministry of Defense is investing in its helicopter simulation training center for military helicopter pilots at a Royal Air Force base in the country.

The purpose-built center, at RAF Benson, trains future pilots of Chinook, Puma and Merlin aircraft. The contract for the center amends a current CAE training award, adding eight more years of service to it.

The ministry said the new contract for the center represents an investment of more than $118.5 million.

CAE simulators at the RAF base in South Oxfordshire, together with four computer-based classrooms and a tactical control room, provide operational mission training to the pilots and crew of the aircraft.

"The importance of effective synthetic training cannot be underestimated and continues to play an increasingly important role in our overall training curriculum," Adrian Baguley, director for Air Support at the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organization, said in a press release. "The Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility has consistently delivered a high standard of quality training to the operators of our front line helicopter capabilities.

"This agreement continues to maintain the world-leading ground school and simulator training facility for our helicopter aircrews."

The simulators put pilots through their paces in replicated real-life scenarios, including flying in blizzards, while under enemy fire, dealing with power failures and electronic warfare.

Leonardo to deliver two AW139 rescue helicopters to Australia
Washington (UPI) Oct 25, 2017 - The defense contracting company Leonardo announced today that the government of Queensland in Australia placed an order for two Agusta Westland AW139 helicopters.

The rotorcraft are expected to aid in the country's ability to respond with additional medical services and to conduct search and rescue missions on land or sea.

The AW139 is a 15-seat medium-sized twin engine helicopter that cost approximately $12 million each.

The AW139s will replace two older helicopter models as part of Queensland's fleet modernization program, which aims to reduce maintenance costs, Leonardo said in a press release.

The two AW139s are expected to be delivered by December 2018, bringing Queensland's total AW139 fleet up to five.

More than 1,600 light military helicopters will be built over the next 15-years by manufacturers worldwide for a value of about $22.2 billion, according to a market report.

Market intelligence and analysis firm Forecast International said Tuesday it came to the conclusion using data from its Platinum Forecast System 3.1.

Production of light military rotorcraft -- those weighing less than 15,000 pounds -- has been on the upswing since 2014, rising from the 160 units produced that year to 208 in 2016, the firm said. The upswing has continued in 2017, with 217 such aircraft expected to be built.

A decline in annual build rates is expected to set in soon, and will last until 2023, when production of 73 rotorcraft is forecast, the company said. But some minor growth and longer-term stability is expected, with production rising to 87 units in 2024. Production rates will then remain at between 75 and 87 units per year through at least 2030.

Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski expects near-term defense spending in the United States "will go mainly to readiness and RDT&E accounts, rather than to procurement."

"The effects of increased defense spending on rotorcraft acquisition will be more apparent outside the U.S., where some countries could accelerate certain fleet modernization plans," Jaworowski said. "While North America and Europe are currently the two largest regional markets for light military rotorcraft, Asia will grow in importance as a regional market over the next 15 years. Manufacturers will also be able to find sales opportunities in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East."

Airbus Helicopters is projected in the report to lead the light military rotorcraft market in unit production, producing 420 units for a 26.1 percent market share from 2017-2031. China's Avicopter is expected to take the second place with production of 301 units for an 18.7 percent share.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd of India will produce 257 units, a 16 percent share, while Bell Helicopter is projected to be fourth, with production of 225 units for a 14 percent share.

AEROSPACE
Bulgarian pilots refuse to fly MiG-29s over safety concerns
Sofia (AFP) Oct 24, 2017
Bulgarian air force pilots refused to fly their Soviet-built MiG-29 jets for planned training on Wednesday, blaming safety concerns and a lack of flight preparation. "Some of the pilots from Graf Ignatievo air base will not perform training flights because of insecurity," deputy defence minister Atanas Zapryanov confirmed after a report by specialist website Aero about the boycott. The p ... read more

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