These Companies Will Work on R2-D2-Like Drone Helper for Air Force Pilots

Four defense companies have been selected to begin work on the U.S. Air Force’s Skyborg program, which aims to pair artificial intelligence with a human piloting a fighter jet.

The service chose Boeing Co., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems Inc., and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. to move forward on the program; however, the companies will be competing for the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, estimated to be worth up to $400 million, according to an announcement.


U.S. EPA proposing first-ever airplane emissions standards

In 2016, the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed on global airplane emissions standards aimed at makers of small and large planes, including Airbus SE and Boeing Co, which both backed the standards.

The EPA-proposed regulation seeks to align the United States with the ICAO standards, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “We are implementing the ICAO recommendations, ICAO standards,” Wheeler told reporters.

Reuters, which first reported the proposal earlier Wednesday, would apply to new type designs as of January 2020 and to in-production airplanes or those with amended type certificates starting in 2028. They would not apply to airplanes currently in use.


Safety panel concerned about quality control on Boeing crew capsule

Members of NASA’s independent panel of aerospace safety advisors raised concerns last week about quality control problems that “seemingly have plagued” Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule program, while urging NASA to closely monitor SpaceX’s plans to reuse Crew Dragon spaceships on astronaut flights to the International Space Station.

An unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in December ended prematurely after a programming error in the capsule’s mission elapsed timer caused the ship to burn too much fuel shortly after separating from its Atlas 5 rocket.


Roper: KC-46 IOT&E and Full-Rate Production Could Be Accelerated

Just a day after the Air Force announced that a full-rate production decision on the KC-46 tanker will have to wait until late fiscal 2024 due to extended testing of the redesigned Remote Vision System for tanking operations, the service’s acquisition executive offered his hope that the timetable may be accelerated by laboratory testing of RVS elements.

The service and Boeing will work with the new and improved Remote Vision System in hardware-in-the-loop laboratories—one at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and one at Boeing’s Everett, Wash., facility, Air Force acquisition boss Will Roper said June 10. The new system—called RVS 2.0—will have 4K cameras, a LIDAR system for three-dimensional visualization and distance measuring; all to correct perception and distortion problems with the existing RVS.


Before 737 MAX Returns to Service, Airlines Plan to Show It Is Safe

Airlines aren?t leaving it to Boeing Co. and the Federal Aviation Administration to reassure travelers the 737 MAX will be safe to fly. They are devising plans to conduct their own demonstration flights with senior company officials on board to amplify that message.

As regulators consider allowing the jetliners to resume service, eight months after they were grounded world-wide following two deadly accidents, U.S. airlines intend to put the MAX back in the air initially without passengers.

The plans by all three domestic MAX operators partly reflect concerns by airline officials about the need to shore up pilot and passenger confidence in the fleet, according to government and industry officials familiar with the matter.


KC-46 Officially Begins Initial Operational Test and Evaluation

The Air Force?s KC-46 program has officially moved the new tanker into its initial operational test and evaluation phase, a delayed step that will certify whether the plane can handle its key missions.

?IOT&E will test the KC-46?s effectiveness, suitability, and mission capability toward accomplishing its three primary mission sets: aerial refueling, cargo/passenger operations, and aeromedical evacuation,? the service said in an Oct. 23 statement. ?The Air Force continues to test the new weapon system, while Boeing corrects identified deficiencies in parallel, as the most expeditious means of achieving full operational capability.?


As Criticism Mounts, Boeing Looks to Keep Pace With KC-46 Deliveries

Following years of delays and high-profile snafus, the Boeing Co. is predicting the KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling tanker program will meet its key performance goals.

Boeing won the $4.9 billion fixed-price incentive contract in 2011 to build the tanker after successfully protesting a previous award to Airbus. The company has recently faced bouts of criticism from government officials and watchdogs over design issues, problems with foreign object debris and late deliveries.

The Air Force accepted its first delivery of the tanker in January, but has since halted deliveries of the aircraft twice due to the discovery of foreign object debris, or FOD.


Flightplan: Military Transition to Commercial Aviation

Landing the next career opportunity in civilian aviation can be an intimidating mission for pilots transitioning out of the military. For many, this may be their first time establishing a professional profile in networking websites, building a resume, attending career fairs, or asking for letters of recommendation.

According to one Boeing forecast, the worldwide economy will require 800,000 pilots over the next 20 years. An increase in passenger flying and goods transported, along with a mandatory retirement age of 65 contribute to the industry?s growing need. This high ?flying? demand for experienced aviators leads many military pilots towards a career path in commercial aviation.

In honor of National Aviation Day (August 19th), this week we reached out for advice from former military Coronado residents who made the successful transition to commercial aviation. Here?s the latest ?gouge? to get your civilian career off the ground.


It’s a Deal: Army Wants Boeing to Build or Fix 600 AH-64E Apaches

The US Army plans to grant Boeing a multiyear contract for the production or remanufacture of up to 600 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. According to a US Army notice online, the contract would consist of a five-year multiyear contract or one-year contract with options from FY2022 to FY2026. Its value is still undisclosed. As told by Flight Global, the army intends on sole sourcing the work to Boeing and posted its plan online so as to give other potentially interested parties a chance to bid.

In 2017, Boeing and the US government signed the first five-year, $3.4 billion contract through which the Army, and an undisclosed foreign military customer, were to acquire the ?E? variant of the Apache. As part of that contract, the US Army was to receive 244 remanufactured Apaches, while 24 new ones were to go to the international customer.


The Biggest Needs in the Mobility Fleet

Future great power competition will step up demand for aerial refueling capacity and require air cargo crews to operate in contested airspace?potentially poisoned with chemical agents. As Air Mobility Command gears up for those demands, leaders are focused on fielding and developing new aircraft and making smarter use of the aircraft they have.

AMC?s priorities over the coming years will be fielding the KC-46 Pegasus, developing requirements for the next tanker aircraft, dubbed the KC-Z, and developing better means of training and managing the force it has while building toward the force it needs. That includes more hands-on training to prepare for operations in hostile environments and employing new technologies to better understand demand for forces.