Grant Turnbull

Defence and Aerospace Reporter

Location icon United Kingdom

I work as a staff reporter for Shephard Media, a UK-based publisher of several aerospace and defence titles. I currently write across the range of magazines on topics such as military helicopters, unmanned aircraft, armoured vehicles and soldier systems.

I am a fully qualified NCTJ journalist with experience at several B2B titles as well as local newspapers. Outside of the journalism world I am a keen cyclist and have several years experience as a reservist in the British Army.

Portfolio

2015

AUSA 2015, Washington DC

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: US Army evolves MUM-T

The speed at which the US Army has had to integrate the Shadow UAS into combat aviation brigades following the aviation restructure initiative (ARI) is forcing the service to refine the organisation, training and doctrine of manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T).

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: Sikorsky's big plans for Raider

Following two successful flights of its next-generation S-97 Raider helicopter concept this year, Sikorsky has set out more details on flight testing and expanding the envelope of the aircraft. The first S-97 prototype - which features rigid co-axial rotors and a six-bladed pusher prop - achieved its maiden flight in May and was flown again last month.

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: Release the hounds (video)

A new vehicle has been unveiled at this year's AUSA exhibition that is likely to compete for a lucrative contract to supply the US Army with a fleet of highly mobile, light reconnaissance vehicles (LCV).

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: Refined XM25 go for launch

Budget uncertainty in the US is unlikely to delay the introduction of the army's long-awaited smart grenade launcher, industry officials have said. The XM25 weapon system - which is designed to fire air burst rounds to defeat targets behind cover - is expected to go through its Pre-Production Qualification Test (PPQT) next spring with a Milestone C decision expected in August 2016.

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: Industry prepares DVE solutions

Industry is positioning itself to provide solutions for a degrated visual environment (DVE) on the US Army's helicopters. The US Army indicated during the AUSA exhibition in Washington DC that it could set out requirements for a DVE solution on its rotary wing aircraft as soon as next year.

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: More C-UAS tech emerges

Lockheed Martin has joined a growing list of companies that are offering a product to counter the threat from UAS. Unveiled at AUSA 2015, the Icarus system is a 'multi-spectral sensor solution' designed to address the potential for UAS, generally quadcopters, to be used as airborne improvised explosive devices (IED).

Shephard Media
10/15/2015
AUSA 2015: BAE light tank goes back to the future

A two decade-old light tank design is being displayed by BAE Systems at the AUSA exhibition that it says could meet the US Army's future mobile protected firepower (MPF) requirement. Going against the general industry convention of releasing new technologies at trade shows, BAE Systems has a M8 Armoured Gun System (AGS) prototype built in the 1990s on its stand.

Helitech International, London

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: Bell CEO Garrison positive despite global market dip

The worldwide helicopter market is facing a 'challenging' period as oil prices remain low and demand for new aircraft reduces, Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison told Shephard. 'We have seen a challenging commercial market place around the globe and industry orders and industry deliveries are off,' he explained. 'We have ...

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: Dart Aerospace aims for European bullseye

Canada-based Dart Aerospace is eyeing growth in the European market where it sees a range of opportunities for its products. The company manufactures landing gear, flotation devices, specialist equipment and maintenance tooling. Many of the products on display at Helitech International are focused on the AS350 and H135/H145 family.

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: FastFin tail mod on display (video)

BLR Aerospace showcased its FastFin system for the Bell Helicopter 412 at this year's Helitech International show held at the ExCel Centre. FastFin - which costs around $90,000 - modifies the tailboom with dual tailboom strakes and a re-shaped vertical fin, which optimises airflow to improve handling, safety and lifting ...

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: End of show review (video)

Helitech International, hosted at the London Excel, saw the presence of three of the major OEMS, Bell Helicopter, Airbus Helicopters and AgustaWestland alongside some of the largest leasing companies in the civil rotorcraft industry.

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: Wireless intercom on display (video)

Norwegian company Axnes displayed its new generation intercom system at this year's Helitech International exhibition. Shephard spoke with the company's chief operations officer Mark Panton on the new capabilities the system brings compared with older intercom technologies.

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: LCI strengthens position in Australia

Aviation leasing company Lease Corporation International (LCI) has underpinned its growth in Australia with the finalisation of two long-term debt facilities to support more than US$200 million of incremental rotary-wing fleet growth in the country, the company has announced at Helitech International.

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: Business forum tackles low oil price fallout

Falling demand for new helicopters in some region and sectors - namely oil and gas - is spurring debate on how the industry can mitigate this decline and take advantage of growth elsewhere in more promising areas.

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: H160 engine deliveries imminent

The first Turbomeca engines for Airbus Helicopters' new H160 medium twin are expected to be delivered 'in the coming weeks', the company's new CEO has told Shephard. The French engine manufacturer is the exclusive supplier of engines to the new generation helicopter, which was unveiled earlier this year and ...

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: Augmented reality for airborne cameras (video)

US-based company Churchill Navigation has added a new dimension to aerial imagery with its innovative Augmented Reality System (ARS) product. Designed primarily for law enforcement helicopters, the advanced mission management system is built to interface with gyro-stabilised cameras and increase crew situational awareness. Erin Murphy, director of sales at Churchill ...

Shephard Media
10/16/2015
Helitech 2015: NPAS accepts first upgraded EC135 (video)

The UK's National Police Air Service (NPAS) formally accepted delivery of its first upgraded EC135 T2+ helicopter at Helitech International. The aircraft is the first of seven to be fitted with a custom-designed equipment suite that includes a new mission management system and integrated communications package. Carried out by ...

DSEI 2015, London

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: New approach for Watchkeeper exports

With the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system (UAS) currently vying for possible contracts in France and Poland, manufacturer Thales has set out at DSEI how it plans to make the platform more exportable in the future.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Bullseye for Beretta's new marksman rifle

Beretta has unveiled a new 7.62x51mm marksman rifle destined for the Italian Army at this year's DSEI in London. The ARX-200 is currently progressing through qualification trials and deliveries are expected to begin later this year, a Beretta spokesperson told Shephard

Shephard Media
09/15/2015
DSEI 2015: Nexter brings out big guns

The gradual introduction of larger, more capable tactical transport aircraft and the need for added protection is opening up a growing requirement for bigger land platforms, including artillery vehicles.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: SW-4 flying solo for MoD (video)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has concluded a two-year long study looking at unmanned rotary wing systems, including conducting simulated deck landings with a full-size optionally piloted helicopter. AgustaWestland was awarded a contract by the MoD in 2013 for the Rotary Wing Unmanned Aerial System (RWUAS) Capability Concept Demonstration ...

Shephard Media
09/15/2015
DSEI 2015: BAE Systems strikes again with advanced helmet

A new generation helmet-mounted display system (HMDS) manufactured by BAE Systems has begun trials to assess the capabilities of the integrated night-vision technology. The latest Striker II HMDS tests pave the way for the ‘fully digitial’ system to be eventually integrated with the Eurofighter Typhoon and other high-end platforms.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Selex ES hunts drones (video)

Selex ES has unveiled a new system designed to counter the threat posed by the rapid proliferation of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) such as quadcopters. Marketed as Falcon Shield, the counter-UAS (C-UAS) product was unveiled to the public for the first time at this year's DSEI exhibition in ...

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Bigger export role for UK MoD

The UK's defence minister has set out plans for the country's Ministry of Defence (MoD) to take a greater responsibility in promoting exports in a speech at this year's DSEI exhibition in London. Speaking at the Excel Centre on 16 September, Secretary of State Michael Fallon outlined ...

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: UK mech role for upgraded VBCI

French armoured vehicle manufacturer Nexter has unveiled a new variant of its Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie (VBCI) 8x8 vehicle, which it sees as a potential option for a future UK mechanised vehicle requirement.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Russia threat spurs NATO air defence growth

The increased threat posed by a resurgent Russia over the last two years has 'heightened' interest among eastern European states in NATO's new air defence system currently being rolled out. The integrated air C2 system - known as the Air Command and Control Systems (ACCS) - is now becoming operational in ...

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: JHC looks to the future

The UK has recently carried out a Future Capability Study (FCS) to set out long term requirements for its current military helicopter fleet and to inform capability planning for ‘beyond 2040’.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: QinetiQ displays stand-off scanner

QinetiQ will display its latest generation stand-off body scanner, at this year's DSEI exhibition in London. It is currently in development with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and could play a vital role in improving maritime security at ports.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Saab eyes UK expansion

Swedish company Saab has expressed its desire to expand in the UK, in a possible sign of growing confidence in the British economy and the country's investment in defence and security. Speaking to reporters at a briefing on September 2 in London, Saab officials outlined their future plans for ...

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Taming the Wildcat (video)

The Royal Navy has revealed more details about trials it is conducting in the Gulf region to expand the capabilities of its new AW159 Wildcat Mk2 helicopter. Speaking to reporters at this year's DSEI exhibition in London, the head of the Wildcat maritime force, Commander Louis Wilson-Chalen, said the ...

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
DSEI 2015: Anti-UAS system unveiled

A trio of UK-based companies will unveil a production ready integrated system designed to detect, track and disrupt unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at this year’s DSEI exhibition in London.

Paris Air Show 2015

Shephard Media
06/17/2015
Paris Air Show: French pilots show off NH90 capabilities (video)

The French Army's aviation branch (Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre - ALAT) wowed crowds at this year's Paris Air Show with its NH90 flying display, which showcased the manoeuvrability of the medium-size helicopter. The NH Industries-built NH90 TTH 'Caiman' helicopter flew every day during ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: Aero Sekur flotation device qualified (video)

Aero Sekur is using the Paris Air Show to announce the full European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) qualification of its AW169 flotation and life-raft system. The EASA-approved flotation device is being adopted across AgustaWestland AW139, AW169 and AW189 aircraft. The company was awarded a contract by the aircraft manufacturer at ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: Textron unleashes the Wolverine (video)

Textron Aviation is displaying its Beechcraft AT-6 light attack and reconnaissance aircraft, which has recently been rebranded as the 'Wolverine', at this year's Paris Air Show. Russ Bartlett, president of Beechcraft Defense Systems, told Shephard the Wolverine name would add more emotion. 'We selected the Wolverine because it's ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: Crash-proof drone makes big impact (video)

A group of Switzerland-based entrepreneurs are showcasing an innovative new 'crash-tolerant' drone called the Gimball at this year's Paris Air Show. Roberto Passini, business development manager at Flyability, explained that the Gimball features a unique protective frame, which means it maintains stability even if it crashes into objects. 'This ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: Archangel spreads wings (video)

North Carolina-based company IOMAX has revealed a new variant of its Archangel armed reconnaissance platform at the Paris Air Show. Based on the Thrush S2R-T660, originally a crop-dusting aircraft in the agriculture industry, the Archangel can carry up to 6,000lbs of weapons and is equipped with a MX-15 EO ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: US military pursues hoverbikes for troops (video)

A hoverbike concept originally developed for cattle mustering in Australia has caught the eye of the US military, which is now looking to develop the futuristic craft as a potential Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle. Developed by Malloy Aeronautics, the quad-rotor Hoverbike can be flown either manned or unmanned and is also ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: Jetpack to revolutionise aviation (video)

A New Zealand technology company is exhibiting a personal jetpack that can be flown either manned or unmanned and is designed for search and rescue, military, recreational and commercial applications. Martin Aircraft Company announced in Paris that it had signed four agreements with firms around the world. A deal with ...

Shephard Media
06/29/2015
Paris Air Show: SDB II exports planned for 2018 (video)

Raytheon will look to begin exports of its Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) in 2018, with company officials indicating that F-35 operators will be a prime target for sales. The Pentagon awarded Raytheon a $31 million contract on June 12 to begin low-rate initial production of 144 SDB II ...

Shephard Media
06/16/2015
Paris Air Show: Paris uncovered (video)

The 2015 edition of the Paris Air Show was once again dominated by the billion-dollar airliner battle between Airbus and Boeing, but there were still some interesting defence products on show, as Shephard Media's editor-in-chief Tony Skinner finds out.

Non-exhibition news

Shephard Media
08/16/2015
Qualification for new Canadian soldier suite

A new suite of systems developed to modernise the dismounted capabilities of Canadian troops has entered qualification testing. Known as the Integrated Soldier System Project (ISSP), the programme has now entered 'Phase A' testing as part of an initial C$8.5 million contract awarded to Rheinmetall Canada on 27 ...

Shephard Media
07/17/2015
BENELUX to get Smart Vests

Elbit Systems will provide a Smart Vest system to the BENELUX countries for their soldier modernisation programmes. Under a €150 million contract signed on 1 July, Elbit will deliver an as-yet unnamed product to meet the Smart Vest requirement over a five-year period. The product from Elbit is likely to ...

Shephard Media
07/17/2015
Lockheed Martin eyes export market for Legion Pod

A new multi-function sensor pod developed by Lockheed Martin to give aircraft infra-red search and track (IRST) capabilities could soon be exported to foreign customers. Known as the Legion Pod, the passive sensor system can be integrated onto a weapon hardpoint to enable airborne platforms to track and engage aerial ...

Shephard Media
07/17/2015
Improved Brazilian APCs on the way

A second tranche of Brazilian Army M113 armoured personnel carriers will be upgraded by BAE Systems in deal worth around $55 million. Under an FMS contract awarded to Pennsylvania-based BAE Systems Combat Vehicles from the Pentagon on 16 July, a total of 236 vehicles are planned to be upgraded by ...

Shephard Media
08/17/2015
US Navy to beef up helicopter RPG protection

The US Navy is looking to develop an active protection system for rotary-wing and tiltrotor aircraft to repel attacks from enemy forces using unguided munitions such as rocket propelled grenades (RPG). According to a presolicitation released on 18 August, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is accepting white papers and ...

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
Pegasus flies amid budget issues

Budget uncertainty in Washington has the potential to severely affect the US Air Force’s KC-46A programme, despite the new tanker making its maiden flight.

Shephard Media
08/16/2015
Testing incident causes more KC-46A delays

Boeing has once again been forced to delay the maiden flight of the first fully-equipped KC-46A aerial refuelling tanker, company officials have confirmed to Shephard. The next-generation tanker was supposed to take to the sky in August or September, Boeing's new CEO Dennis Muilenburg said last month. But that ...

Shephard Media
07/16/2015
KC-46A primed for first flight

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Shephard Media
08/16/2015
USAF concerned over KC-46A delays

Continuing delays to the maiden flight of the USAF’s next generation aerial tanker has increased concerns among Pentagon officials. This has prompted a revision of the programme’s schedule. A fully-equipped KC-46A ‘Pegasus’ was planned to lift off this summer, according to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, but that milestone is now expected to be achieved no earlier than October because of a testing incident in July.

Shephard Media
09/16/2015
US Army finally commits to guided rockets

The US Army has begun to acquire smart guidance kits for its 70mm (2.75in) rocket systems and is fielding them to frontline units for evaluation, service officials have disclosed.