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MD Helicopter contracted for 150 Cayuse Warriors for Afghan air force
by Stephen Carlson
Washington (UPI) Sep 7, 2017

Bell Helicopters completes build of first V-280
Washington (UPI) Sep 7, 2017 - A new fixed-wing tiltrotor aircraft from Bell Helicopters for the U.S. Army, the V-280 Valor, has been completely built and will conduct its first flight this fall, Bell reported this week.

"The V-280 was designed to provide our military with the speed, range and operational productivity needed to complete any mission and outmatch every opponent," the company said in a press release.

Innovations incorporated in the V-280 by Bell include stationary nacelles, which increases the ease of aircraft maintenance and safety of the ingress and egress.

Tiltrotor aircraft provide high-speed performance and low-speed agility. A tiltrotor now in use by the U.S. military is the V-22 Osprey, which was designed and built by a partnership between Bell and Boeing. The Osprey has a cruise speed of 277 miles per hour.

Bell assembled the V-280 at its facility in Amarillo, Texas.

MD Helicopters has received $1.39 billion contract for the procurement of an estimated 150 MD 530F light utility helicopters for the government of Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced on Tuesday.

The contract will include maintenance, support services and pilot training. Production sites and funding under the foreign military sales program will be determined by each order as it is requested. The production and delivery run is expected to run with Aug. 31, 2022.

The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is a light attack helicopter is based off of the OH-6 Cayuse observation helicopter. It can be armed with twin 50mm machineguns and Hydra 70mm rockets.

The MD 530F has already been delivered to the Afghan Air Force in small numbers to help provide close-air support for ground forces, although the helicopter has encountered serious problems while operating in the environment.

One pilot complained that when fully loaded it had a maximum altitude of only 8,000 ft., making it incapable of crossing many of the mountain ranges in Afghanistan. It is unarmored and there have been reports of mechanical unreliability, the .50 machine guns repeatedly jamming in action, and the lack of gunsights requiring the weapons to be aimed by tracers.

The Afghan Air Force has struggled to become capable of operating independently, and is still largely equipped with a mix of Soviet-era helicopters.

Light, simple to operate aircraft like the Cayuse Warrior and Embraer Super Tucano are hoped to fill the gap, but have only been delivered in small numbers so far and have been operated with mixed results.

Airbus Perlan Mission II Soars Into History, Sets New World Record for Glider Altitude
El Calafate, Argentina (SPX) Sep 05, 2017
Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world's first initiative to send an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made history yesterday in the Patagonia region of Argentina by soaring to over 52,000 feet and setting a new world altitude record for gliding. "We are celebrating an amazing victory for aerospace innovation and scientific discovery today, and we're so thankful to all the volunteers ... read more

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