Industry Notebook
Mar 15, 2008

EADS starts static testing of a complete A400M structure
March 2008 – Testing of a dedicated A400M complete structure has begun at the Military Transport Aircraft Division (MTAD) facilities in Getafe, Madrid. The aim of this 3-part testing process is to demonstrate the reliability and integrity of the aircraft structure.

The complete built-to-purpose aircraft structure will first undergo structural and fatigue testing. Second, is complete testing of the horizontal tail plane, as part of the non-flying frame. The third test will perform structural testing on the first aircraft assembled at the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Seville. Two of the three ground tests before first flight have already been successfully completed. These are: the application of loads equivalent to stationary flight and check for correctness and gaps of the wing flight controls and the calibration of the sensors installed on the aircraft to measure the loads in flight. The third ground test – a vibration test to check the structural behaviour under dynamic loads – will be performed in the next months, according to schedule.

First Flight of MDA’s UAV
March 2008 – MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. and Israel Aero­space Industries/MALAT Division (IAI), announced that it has achieved a successful ‘First Flight in Canada’ milestone for the company’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Service known as ‘Ardea.’ This is the first time that a MALE (Medium Altitude, Long Endurance) UAV has flown in Canada for civil applications. An international leader in aerospace, remote sensing, and information solutions, MDA is committed to bringing UAV-based surveillance and monitoring services to commercial sectors of the economy. These systems are cost-effective, safe, and highly versatile alternatives to traditional aerial image acquisition and monitoring techniques. MDA’s heritage in advanced information systems enhances the value of acquired data to generate meaningful information to commercial users.

MDA’s Ardea UAV Service, located in Suffield, Alberta, provides a state-of-the-art R&D and training facility for the application and advancement of UAVs.

Rheinmetall Defence Wins Order for GÜZ Expansion
March 2008 – Germany’s Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) has awarded Rheinmetall Defence a contract for a major expansion of the German Army’s Combat Training Centre (GÜZ) which has been steadily ramping up operations since 2001. The order encompasses new GÜZ system technology for the previously non-instrumented southern part of the Altmark Major Training Area and additional mobile online video technology. The order is worth some €25 M for Rheinmetall Defence’s Simulation and Training Division.

Building on a 2006 order for the complete modernization of system technology for the GÜZ command & control center and communications network, the TETRA wireless data link and tactical voice communications will be expanded, meaning that exercises can soon be controlled and monitored from the GÜZ command & control center. New radio relay stations will also be erected in the training area and connected to the command & control center by fibre optic cable.

This contract was awarded with the proviso that training operations must be able to carry on without interruption.

Rheinmetall Defence will supply two additional video relay vehicles for online recording and documentation of exercises. Augmenting three existing systems, the new ones are equipped with night vision cameras, enabling exercises to be recorded under conditions of poor visibility. This will make it possible to exploit the full capabilities of the GÜZ video system for mobile online transmission, presentation and processing of parallel battlefield videos in the command cell 24 hours a day.

Full-Earth Surveillance for Missile Warning
March 2008 – Ahead of schedule, Raytheon Company has successfully demonstrated a fully integrated, high-performance infrared sensor, for the Risk Reduction Alternative Infrared Satellite Systems program.

Sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center and managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the RR-AIRSS program aims to prove that wide-field-of-view infrared sensors can maintain persistent full-earth surveillance for missile warning in a relatively small, low-risk and easily manufactured payload.

The sensor represents a major technology advance compared to the current Satellite and Space-based Infrared System programs. Both rely on complex scanning mechanisms to perform full-earth surveillance of missiles and other infrared targets. Initial tests and analysis indicate the RR-AIRSS sensor will outperform both.
© Frontline Defence 2008