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Ukraine's Antonov rolls out first AN-132D aircraft
by Ryan Maass
Kiev, Ukraine (UPI) Dec 21, 2016

Airbus Helicopters gets new helicopter support contract
Grand Prairie, Texas (UPI) Dec 22, 2016 - The U.S. Army has given Airbus Helicopters Inc. a five-year logistics support contract for UH-72A Lakota utility and training helicopters.

The contract, which is for one-base year an four one-year options, has a potential value of more than $967 million.

"This contract shows that the people of Airbus Helicopters have proven that we can and will meet our commitments to provide high-quality helicopters and outstanding support to the men and women that serve our country in the U.S. Army," said company President Chris Emerson. "For a decade, we have continuously delivered helicopters, spare parts, and other support to the Army on time and on budget. We will continue to meet the Army's requirements."

Under the award, Airbus Helicopters will provide spare parts, material and engineering support for the helicopters at Army and National Guard bases in 43 states as well as in Kwajalein, Guam, Puerto Rico and Germany.

Airbus Helicopters said the initial contract installment of $17.4 million has been exercised.

The agreement, which follows 10 years of support for U.S. Army aircraft, is one of the largest performance-based support contracts managed by Airbus Helicopters worldwide.

To date, 393 UH-72As have been delivered to the Army by the company.

U.S. State Dept. approves P-8A aircraft sale to Norway
Washington (UPI) Dec 22, 2016 - The U.S. State Department has approved the proposed sale of P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft to the government of Norway.

The pending sale includes five of the planes in addition to commercial engines, Tactical Open Mission Software, AN/APY-10 radars, missile warning sensors, and additional equipment. If approved by Congress, the deal is estimated to cost $1.75 billion.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency says the sale bolsters national security interests abroad by improving a NATO ally's security capabilities and promoting political stability throughout the world.

Norway intends to use the P-8As to replace its legacy fleet of P-3C Orion C planes. The country has operated the plane for over 40 years. The DSCA maintains Norway will have no difficulty absorbing the new planes into their armed forces.

The Boeing-made P-8A Poseidon is designed for long-range patrol missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. The aircraft is also used by pilots in India and Australia.

Antonov, a subsidiary of Ukraine's state-owned Ukroboronprom, formally rolled out its multipurpose AN-132D military transport aircraft.

The plane was rolled out during a ceremony attended by high-ranking government officials, including Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and Saudi Prince Turki bin Saud bin Muhoammed Al Saud. Poroshenko presented an optimistic vision for aircraft during a speech.

"We are confident that this aircraft has a great future. We are confident that it will have 260-290 aircraft by 2035. And I thank all aircraft manufacturers and all our partners for this celebration and for this victory," he said.

In a separate speech, Ukroboronprom general director Roman Romanov praised his company's production process, saying the project was completed quickly and effectively.

"An-132D was created in a very short time," he said. "The decision to implement this project was made in May 2015 when the agreement was concluded with Taqnia Aeronautics, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Today the aircraft is ready for testing and will perform its first flight in spring 2017."

The AN-132D is designed for transporting cargo over short- and medium-range routes, and is capable of carrying a maximum payload of 9.2 tons.

IHS Janes reports Saudi Arabia plans to procure two of the new planes for electronic warfare roles, and 4 additional aircraft for search-and-rescue missions.

Field Aviation, ASELSAN to develop new special mission aircraft
Toronto (UPI) Dec 21, 2016 - Field Aviation and Turkish defense contractor ASELSAN are jointly developing a new special mission aircraft based on the Bombardier Challenger 605.

The companies plan to modify the existing commercial aircraft with new configurations, including multiple operator stations and aerodynamic alterations. Field Aviation did not specify how many planes would be fitted, but confirmed multiple platforms will be developed.

"At Field Aviation, we are experts in integrating and certifying complicated mission systems into many aircraft platforms. ASELSAN recognizes this, and our track record allows them to focus on the mission system and its performance," Field Aviation chief operating officer Brian Love said in a press release.

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series is a family of business planes first produced by Canadair. The jet has been fitted for military operations by multiple armed forces around the world, including the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the U.S. Air Force, and others.

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