Bell rolls out first AH-1Z for Bahrain

by Gareth Jennings

With the roll-out of the first AH-1Z for Bahrain, it was revealed that the kingdom's fleet will feature a ‘unique' two-tone grey colour scheme. (Bell)

Bell has rolled out the first of 12 AH-1Z Viper for Bahrain, handing the attack helicopter over to the US Naval Air Systems Command ahead of delivery to the Gulf kingdom in 2022.

The manufacturer announced the milestone on 22 October, releasing an image of this first helicopter finished in the ‘unique' two-tone grey scheme and markings of the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF). News of the roll-out came approximately seven months after the work on the first helicopter began at Bell's Amarillo production facility in Texas in March.

Bahrain is to receive its AH-1Z attack helicopters under a Foreign Military Sales deal that was first approved in April 2018 and signed in February 2019. As noted by the US Defense Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA) when the procurement was first approved, in addition to the 12 AH-1Z helicopters, Bahrain is to also acquire Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and BAE Systems Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II guided rockets, as well as Thales TopOwl helmet-mounted display system.

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ILA 2022: Airbus promotes H145M D3 enhancements and pitches further improvements to international market

by Gareth Jennings

As a major operator of the H145M, the German armed forces could benefit from a raft of enhancements proposed by the manufacturer Airbus. (Airbus)

Airbus Helicopters has highlighted the latest enhancements it has rolled into the D3 standard of its H145M medium-twin rotorcraft, and is proposing a raft of additional improvements in an effort to attract new operators to the type.

Speaking to Janes and other defence media ahead of ILA 2022, Constance Pinsdorf, senior programme manager H145 governmental business, said that with the current D3 standard of the H145M providing superior capabilities over the upgraded D2 and original C2 standards,improvements that are earmarked will provide further capabilities.

“Due to the fact we are based on a civilian version, which is really successful and really mature, we have a long history [of developing this type], and I am confident that we have a mature system that is working for the customer,” Pinsdorf said. “We have come from the C2 and D2 versions to the D3 version, [and] we are now taking the D3 evolution to the next stage.”

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ILA 2022: Diehl launches Light Attack Remote Carrier for FCAS/SCAF and legacy aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

Diehl displayed a model of its Light Attack Remote Carrier concept at ILA 2022. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Diehl Defence showcased a weaponised Remote Carrier (RC) ‘loyal wingman' at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, telling Janes that the project is geared at the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme, as well as for current fighter aircraft.

Speaking to Janes on 23 June, Sven Katzenstein, Future Technologies Project Manager Targeting Systems, said that, although not officially part of the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) of FCAS/SCAF that includes the RC element (this work is led by Airbus, with MBDA, GMV, Technobit, and Sener Aeroespacial as partners), the Light Attack Remote Carrier (LAC) is being developed by Diehl to show the art of the possible.

“The LAC is now a concept that is separate from the RC pillar [of FCAS/SCAF],” Katzenstein said. “We thought we could give the RC a secondary role [besides a loyal wingman force multiplier], with a warhead in addition to its surveillance sensors. The size of the warhead has not yet been decided, he added.

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USAF chief bullish on digital design solutions for B-21, Sentinel programmes

by Gillian Rich

The B-21 Raider programme is using digital design and collaboration. (Northrop Grumman)

US Air Force (USAF) chief of staff General Charles Brown said on 22 June that he would like to see a collaborative and digital approach continue across the air force following positive results on its use with the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber and LGM-35A Sentinel next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

At a Hudson Institute talk, Gen Brown said the collaboration between airmen set to operate the platforms, acquisition officials, and industry partners, enabled by digital design and engineering, helps solve potential issues early in the design process.

“You've probably watched programmes over the years, what happens is we have another good idea. We keep adding those good ideas on, which drives cost and schedule issues versus going, ‘here's what you can really get done'”, he said.

“And if you're using a digital approach, then you can actually continue to upgrade and modify, particularly if it's software based, and make adjustments to the design before you actually start bending metal,” he continued.

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Bell has rolled out the first of 12 AH-1Z Viper for Bahrain, handing the attack helicopter over to t...

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