Airbus Signs Helicopter Deal with Communist China’s GDAT

By Brooks M. Deering, The Chicago Times

April 8, 2023

BLAGNAC, FRANCE – Airbus Helicopters, a division of French aircraft giant Airbus, has signed a contract with GDAT, one of Communist China’s most prominent helicopter lessors and operators.

The deal was signed as French President Emmanuel Macron makes a state visit to Communist China.  According to Airbus, the contract will fulfill orders for 50 H160 helicopters. GDAT claims the order for the H160 will be used for civilian purposes, such as offshore transportation for oil and gas platforms, wind farm maintenance, harbor piloting, emergency medical services, and other public service missions. Furthermore, Airbus Helicopters and GDAT signed a strategic cooperation agreement for support and services capabilities in order to ensure the long term success of the H160 in Communist China.

“We are honored GDAT has decided to bolster their all-Airbus fleet of 26 helicopters with the addition of 50 H160 helicopters,” Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters said in a press release.

GDAT is a leading general aviation service provider in Communist China specializing in helicopter sales and leasing, maintenance, rescue flights, and other “government” services.

Introduced in 2015, the multi-role H160 helicopter is capable of performing a wide range of missions.  There is also a military variant, the H160-M, that is used by the French Armed Forces.

US Navy Selects Raytheon Technologies for Anti-Ship Strike Weapon

By Paul J. Jones, The Chicago Times

March 31, 2023

ARLINGTON COUNTY, VA – Raytheon Technologies announced today that the US Navy has selected them for phase one of the Hypersonic Air-Launched Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare weapon program, also known as HALO.  HALO is a carrier-based offensive anti-ship strike weapon that supports the US Navy’s long range fires strategy.

According to Raytheon, their Advanced Technology team will focus on maturing the technology required to reach a preliminary design review of an all up round HALO weapon system followed by the next phase of the program that will focus on demonstrating a propulsion system.

It is expected that HALO will be a higher-speed, longer-range, air-launched weapon system providing superior anti-surface warfare capabilities to the US Navy designed to address advanced threats from distances that allows the fleet to operate in, and control, a contested battle on the high seas.

Wells Fargo Fined $67.8 million for Inadequate Oversight by Federal Reserve

By Ned Fielder, The Chicago Times

March 31, 2023

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve Board announced Thursday that it has fined Wells Fargo & Co., of San Francisco, California, $67.8 million for the firm’s “unsafe or unsound practices” relating to historical inadequate oversight of sanctions compliance risks at its subsidiary bank, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

According to the Fed, Wells Fargo’s deficient oversight allowed the bank to violate US sanctions regulations by providing a trade finance platform to a foreign bank that used the platform to process approximately $532 million in prohibited transactions between 2010 and 2015.

In conjunction with The Fed, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has also imposed a separate penalty on Wells Fargo Bank for these violations bringing the total fines facing Wells Fargo to approximately $97.8 million.

Northrop Grumman Teams with Shield AI for Future Unmanned Aircraft System Prototype

By James M. Douglas, The Chicago Times

March 29, 2023

FALLS CHURCH, VA – Northrop Grumman Corporation, teamed with Shield AI, announced Tuesday that it has been chosen by the US Army to participate in the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System competition, Increment 2, to replace the long-serving RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial system.

Northrop Grumman, under a seven-week base period contract, will define the modular open-system architecture of an enhanced V-BAT aircraft, including the integration of advanced surveillance and electronic warfare payloads.  The V-BAT UAS is a compact and lightweight platform that a team of two soldiers can rapidly launch and recover in on-the-move combat environments.

Increment 2 of the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) program. Image: Northrop Grumman and Shield AI.

“Our team’s enhanced V-BAT embodies more than 30 years of experience designing, delivering and sustaining advanced unmanned aircraft systems, combined with a field-proven platform and production facilities,” said Angela Johns, vice president, autonomous and tactical air systems, Northrop Grumman. 

Shield AI, a designer and manufacturer of the V-BAT platform, will provide solutions for an expeditionary vertical takeoff and landing UAS, capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance for US Army ground units.  

According to Northrop Grumman, previous versions of the V-BAT have supported operations for the US Navy and Marine Corps since 2016.   The enhanced V-BAT will be designed for simple operation and reduced logistics tail and capacity to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including electro-optical/infra-red, synthetic aperture radar and EW systems.

US Army Selects Lockheed Martin to Develop Maneuverable Long Range Missile

By Frank Savage, The Chicago Times

March 28, 2023

BETHESDA, MD – Lockheed Martin announced Monday that the U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Center has selected Lockheed to develop an advanced propulsion Long Range Maneuverable Fires (LRMF) missile. 

“Lockheed Martin is partnering with the U.S. Army to give soldiers a decisive edge on the battlefield by extending their reach.  With half a century of expertise integrating advanced propulsion systems and supporting the Army’s precision fires ecosystem, we are ready to develop a solution that significantly extends PrSM’s range.” said Steven Botwinik, vice president of Advanced Programs Execution and Transition at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in a press release.

Rendering of an LRMF launch. Image: Lockheed Martin.

According to Lockheed, Phase 1 will center on design and risk-reduction activities, with optional follow-on phases leading to flight test demonstration. It is expected that LRMF will transition to the US Army’s Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles (STORM) project office to inform the design of an extended-range Precision Strike Missile Increment 4.

Curtiss-Wright to Provide US Marine Corps with Expeditionary Network Communications Technology

By The Chicago Times Business Staff

March 24, 2023

DAVIDSON, NC – Curtiss-Wright Corporation announced Thursday that it has been awarded a follow-on contract by the United States Marine Corps to provide small form factor network router and switch modules to support communications modernization with highly portable expeditionary network communications technology. 

Per the contract, Curtiss-Wright will provide a Modular Open Systems Approach deployed baseband system for the Marine Corps Wideband Satellite-Expeditionary program.

Curtiss-Wright said it is performing the work within its Defense Solutions division in the Defense Electronics segment. The products covered by this agreement will be shipped to the USMC from the Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions facility in Portland, Oregon.