04.01.2009
FLUG REVUE

2009-01-05 - News in BriefNews in Brief - Week ending 4 January 2009

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Infos from around the global aerospace industry

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MTU Aero Engines is taking an approximate 6.6 percent role in General Electric's GEnx engine to power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental airliner and the Boeing 747-8 Freighter. Germany's leading engine manufacturer will be manufacturing and assuming design responsibility for the engine's turbine center frame. MTU figures the deal can be worth over 11 billion euros in revenue, taken over the life of the program. About 1,150 engines are already on firm order or option. "Our stake in the GEnx program expands our role in the promising widebody segment and further deepens our close, long-standing cooperation with General Electric," emphasized MTU CEO Egon Behle. "It gives us a share in a paramount future engine in the upper thrust category and helps balance the mix of our product portfolio." Widebody commercial transports are considered an appreciably growing segment of the airliner market that is less severely exposed to economic fluctuations than others. As a risk and revenue sharing partner, MTU participates in the engine's sales and profits while simultaneously sharing in the risks involved.
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Pratt & Whitney's PW4000 Advantage70 engine received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) FAR33 certification of the engine's airworthiness.  Advantage70 technology upgrades deliver enhanced engine performance, including a 2 percent thrust increase, a 1 percent reduction in fuel consumption, increased durability, and reduced maintenance costs.  The first PW4000-100” engines with the Advantage70 technology upgrade, which deliver 70,000 pounds of thrust for the A330 aircraft family, are scheduled to enter service in mid-2009. The A330-200 and A330-300 passenger aircraft will be the first to fly the PW4000-100” engines with Advantage70 in mid-2009.
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International Space Station Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov wound up a 5-hour, 38-minute spacewalk to install an electromagnetic energy probe and other experiments at 1:29 a.m. EST Tuesday before Christmas. They also took photos. The spacewalk, in Russian Orlan spacesuits from the station's Pirs docking compartment, began at 7:51 p.m. Monday. Lonchakov, the lead spacewalker, completed his first spacewalk. Fincke completed his fifth spacewalk. Lonchakov and Fincke worked together to install the electromagnetic energy measuring device, called a Langmuir probe, on Pirs. Measurements of electromagnetic energy could be helpful in the investigation of its effects on pyrotechnical separation bolts on Soyuz spacecraft. The bolts are suspects in the investigation of ballistic – steeper than normal -- entries of the Expedition 15 and Expedition 16 Soyuz spacecraft.  Fincke removed the Russian Biorisk long-duration experiment, which exposes biological samples to space, from outside Pirs and with Lonchakov put it inside the airlock. Next the two installed the Expose-R experiment package on the Zvezda service module. It contains European Space Agency astrobiology experiments. Similar in some respects to the Biorisk experiment, the Expose-R experiments are designed to expose biological samples to the harsh conditions of space. A companion experiment is mounted outside the Columbus module.
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Alenia Aeronautica and the Direzione Generale Armamenti Aeronautici (General Management for Aeronautical Armaments) of the Defence Ministry, have reached an agreement for the supply of four ATR72 Maritime Patrol aircraft. The medium-range, twin-engine turbine airplanes will be delivered to the Italian Air Force starting from 2012, to be used for the maritime patrolling with mixed crews with the Italian Navy. The aircraft is a version of the regional turboprop ATR72, developed ad-hoc by Alenia Aeronautica and offers a greater autonomy as compared to the ATR42MPs already in service with the Guardia di Finanza (Customs Police) and the Coast Guard, which have already in service 7 units for maritime patrol roles such as surveillance of national sea, maritime routes and economic exclusive zone patrol and to counter smuggling and clandestine  immigration. 
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NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing, which simulates the extreme hot, cold and airless conditions of space LRO will experience after launch. This milestone concludes the orbiter's environmental test program at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The orbiter will carry seven instruments to provide scientists with detailed maps of the lunar surface and increase our understanding of the moon's topography, lighting conditions, mineralogical composition and natural resources. Data returned to Earth from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will be used to select safe landing sites, determine locations for future outposts and help mitigate radiation dangers to astronauts. The spacecraft will spend at least a year in a low, polar orbit approximately 30 miles above the lunar surface while the instruments work together to collect detailed information about the moon's environment.
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B/E Aerospace announced that it has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA which authorizes the company to convert Airbus A300-600 passenger aircraft to freighters. The STC was awarded to B/E Aerospace's Flight Structures unit (FSI). The company previously announced that it had been awarded a contract by China Southern Airlines to convert six of its A300-600 passenger aircraft to freighters. B/E Aerospace expects the six aircraft program for China Southern Airlines to have a value of approximately $45 million. B/E Aerospace has been responsible for the engineering design and STC certification of the Airbus A300-600 passenger-to-freighter conversion and will be responsible for manufacturing the required passenger-to-freighter conversion kits. B/E Aerospace's MRO partner, Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company (GAMECO), a Guangzhou-based joint venture of China Southern Airlines and Hutchinson Whampoa (China) Ltd., will provide the touch labor and kit installation.
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AgustaWestland announced that it has signed a six year contract with CEIIA of Portugal for the Research and Development, Design and Engineering Project (RDE) during an official ceremony held in Lisbon today and presided by the Minister of Economy and Innovation of Portugal, Manuel Pinho. Under this contract Portuguese companies and universities will be involved in diversified aerospace-related projects. The main aeronautical fields targeted include mechanical systems, interiors, structures and composites, electronic and software systems. This contract follows major achievements performed in August comprising the setting up of AgustaWestland Portugal subsidiary to provide complete helicopter support services, the contract with Locação de Equipamentos de Defesa SA (DEFLOC) for the long term provision of support for the Portuguese Air Force AW101 helicopters through the Full In Service Support (FISS) and the offset agreement amendment including aerospace manufacturing and engineering services.
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AgustaWestland announced that Heligo Charters Pvt Ltd, the Mumbai based offshore helicopter operator, has started operations this month in India with its first AW139 medium twin engine helicopter. Heligo Charters has also recently received CAR145 Maintenance Organization Approval, making it the first helicopter company in India to comply with these requirements. The company plans to add a second AW139 to its fleet in early 2009 to meet increasing demand in the Indian oil and gas sector, particularly for deep water offshore support operations. Additional AW139s are planned for offshore operations in India later in 2009.
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Boeing announced that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the all-new 787 Dreamliner's scheduled maintenance program. The scheduled maintenance program defines the maintenance tasks and intervals operators will use to maintain the 787 and is documented in the 787 Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR). The report was accepted by the Maintenance Review Board, an FAA organization composed of specialists who review and accept maintenance requirements. This MRBR approval from the FAA is one of the many requirements needed for airplane certification. "The MRBR approval is a result of the most comprehensive maintenance program development effort in the history of the industry," said Mike Fleming, 787 director of Services and Support. "It is supported by more than 33,000 pages of supporting analysis, as well as the participation of eight regulatory agencies, 25 airlines and 30 suppliers and partners." Boeing has designed the 787 to be 30 percent less expensive to maintain than any comparable product. This savings is largely due to the 787 advanced design, the wide use of composite structure and the highly integrated systems architecture, which allow for fewer maintenance tasks and longer intervals between tasks.
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Eurocopter UK announced the first UK order for a wind farm maintenance helicopter in the UK. Bond Air Services has ordered an EC135 for maintenance work at the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm starting end of 2009. The EC135 will be used for maintenance operations, including delivery of personnel and complex equipment by winch at the Greater Gabbard wind farm located approx 20 miles of the East Anglia Coast from end of 2009 onwards. Bond Air Services is the largest UK operator of EC135 helicopters, providing support for marine activities, including transport, maintenance and monitoring missions, emergency medical services, police aerial support operations, media and executive charter services. The Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm will consist of 140 3.6MW wind turbines and will be located around two sand banks known as Inner Gabbard and The Galloper in the North Sea, off the Suffolk Coast. When the project is completed, by the end of 2010, it is expected to be the largest wind farm in the world.
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Boeing has been selected by Southwest Airlines as the lead integrator for the airline's 737-300/-700 flight deck upgrade to incorporate advanced performance-based navigation capabilities. Boeing's role will include design, installation and integration of new hardware and software from multiple suppliers, as well as flight testing and certification. Under this large-scale integration program, the 737-300 airplanes will be modified with new and enhanced avionics supplied by GE Aviation, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins. The Classic 737s will be equipped with GE's large area displays which use the latest in LCD technology and more closely align the 737-300 and 737-700 flight decks, creating commonality, and allowing the 737-300 to operate in the same preferred airspace as the newer 737-700s.
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The UK MoD has awarded Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace a GBP258 million contract to support the engines on its fleet of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Sea King helicopters. The 10-year agreement with Rolls-Royce will provide a guaranteed delivery of the Gnome turboshaft engines for the Sea King fleet and covers engine support including the repair and overhaul of engines, provision of spares as well as delivery to MoD sites. This contract will improve support to a helicopter which is performing a vital role on operations in Afghanistan.
The innovative contract will deliver the required flying hours on our Sea Kings, - on average delivering 20% more flying hours when compared to traditional contractual arrangements - a key measure of helicopter capability.
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Lockheed Martin's second F-35 Lightning II ground-test aircraft rolled out at the company's Fort Worth plant, where it will be fully instrumented before being shipped to the United Kingdom for testing. The new F-35, called AG-1, is the full-scale static test article for the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, which will be flown by the U.S. Air Force and eight of the nine F-35 partner countries. The static test aircraft for the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant was delivered earlier this year and has successfully completed a third of its planned test program in Fort Worth. "AG-1 will be placed in a state-of-the-art test rig where twisting, bending and pulling forces are applied to validate that the CTOL variant's structure can sustain the tremendous forces and loads exerted during flight," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. "This test article enables F-35 to retire technical risk as quickly as possible so flight testing can progress toward the CTOL's full nine-G performance envelope on schedule."
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Orbit International Corp. announced that its Electronics Group has received a production contract from a leading global prime contractor in support of a Black Hawk helicopter upgrade program. This award, valued in excess of $2,000,000, was received by the Company's Tulip Development Laboratory, Inc. subsidiary, located in Quakertown, PA. Deliveries under this contract are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2009 and are scheduled to ramp up on a monthly basis through the first quarter of 2010. The Black Hawk was designed as a Multi-Mission Helicopter, used throughout the world as a troop carrier, and for logistical support, electronic warfare and as an aero medical evacuation aircraft.
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Southwest Airlines submitted an application to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to acquire international route authority to operate flights between the United States and Canada. The application for a certificate to provide foreign air transportation is required by law before Southwest Airlines can fully implement its previously announced codeshare agreement with Canadian carrier WestJet. The certificate, which Southwest hopes to receive in the first quarter of next year, would also allow Southwest Airlines the authority to operate flights to Canada with its own planes, although the airline does not have any plans to do so at this time. Under the planned codeshare, Southwest Airlines and WestJet will offer Customers a seamless travel experience to a wide array of destinations in both the U.S. and Canada. The airlines plan to announce codeshare flight schedules in the second half of 2009.
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Goodrich and Rolls-Royce announced that they have signed all appropriate agreements related to the formation of a joint venture company to develop and supply engine controls for Rolls-Royce aero engines. The two companies previously announced the intention to form the joint venture on August 14, 2008. The joint venture company, Rolls-Royce Goodrich Engine Control Systems Limited, will operate as Aero Engine Controls. It combines Goodrich's existing UK-based engine controls design and manufacturing business and Rolls-Royce's expertise in the integration of controls into the engine. Each of the contributing companies owns 50 per cent of Aero Engine Controls. Goodrich will retain the aftermarket products and services business associated with the joint venture's products.
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Delta Air Lines will strengthen its gateway at Los Angeles International Airport in 2009 with the addition of its first-ever daily nonstop service between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia effective July 1; three-times weekly service between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo, Brazil beginning May 21; and increased service between Los Angeles and New York-JFK starting March 2.  Delta's growth at Los Angeles is supported by the recently announced expanded marketing agreement between Delta and Alaska Air Group that will make the two companies preferred partners on the West Coast and bolster connectivity at Los Angeles.  The agreement will make Sydney, Sao Paulo, as well as Delta's existing international flights to Latin America, Tokyo-Narita, Seoul-Inchon, Guangzhou, Amsterdam, Paris-Charles De Gaulle and other U.S. destinations more accessible to travelers from points throughout the West Coast via easy connections with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.  Delta and its Northwest Airlines subsidiary together with Alaska and Horizon offer customers daily connections to approximately 45 nonstop destinations to, from and through Los Angeles.
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Lockheed Martin and Thales Alenia Space of Italy announced today they are forming a strategic partnership to jointly develop and deliver a new family of space-based remote sensing systems for customers around the world. The joint business agreement leverages each company's resources, talents, programs and customer partnerships in a way that allows Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company and Thales Alenia Space to expand their respective remote sensing product areas and businesses. "This partnership builds on our respective strengths and proven performance in providing world-class, cost-effective solutions for civil and defense customers globally," said Rick Ambrose, vice president and general manager of Surveillance and Navigation Systems for Lockheed Martin. "As earth observation solutions become increasingly important to our customers, Lockheed Martin and Thales Alenia Space, through our strategic partnership, are well positioned to help our global customers successfully achieve their space radar objectives."
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Denver International Airport's 50 millionth passenger passed through the facility on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008. “We thank our citizens from throughout Denver, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region who have given this airport their business and helped make it one of the world's busiest airports,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “When DIA was initially conceived and built, 50 million passengers was the design capacity,” said Kim Day, Aviation Manager for Denver International Airport. “We have reached this milestone, and so now, we must look ahead and plan for the future. We have in fact begun this process by initiating a master plan that will help us prepare for the future as we know it, and maintain flexibility to deal with the future we cannot foresee. This is a very exciting threshold in the history of this airport.” DIA reached the 50-million-passenger milestone several years sooner than projected.
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NASA has awarded two contracts -- one to Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., and one to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif. -- for commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station. At the time of award, NASA has ordered eight flights valued at about $1.9 billion from Orbital and 12 flights valued at about $1.6 billion from SpaceX. These fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts will begin Jan. 1, 2009, and are effective through Dec. 31, 2016. The contracts each call for the delivery of a minimum of 20 metric tons of upmass cargo to the space station. The contracts also call for delivery of non-standard services in support of the cargo resupply, including analysis and special tasks as the government determines are necessary.
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Rolls-Royce announced it has delivered its first production Variable Area Vane Box Nozzle (VAVBN) to Pratt & Whitney for integration on the F-35B Lightning II aircraft. The VAVBN is now ready to be shipped to Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) partner Northrop Grumman for integration into the aircraft. Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are the principal industrial partners developing the F-35 with Lockheed Martin Corporation. The VAVBN is integral to the aircraft structure and is used to control the LiftFan exit airflow when the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft is operated in powered-lift mode. Final assembly was completed at the Rolls-Royce facilities in Indianapolis.
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Embraer's ultra-large Lineage 1000 executive jet has been awarded type certification by the National Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil - ANAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Brazilian and European Union aviation authorities, respectively. Interior Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) will follow, soon, thus completing the development cycle. The Lineage 1000's maximum range, originally projected to be 4,200 nautical miles (7,778 kilometers or 4,833 miles) with eight  passengers, or 4,350 nautical miles (8,056 kilometers or 5,005 miles) with four passengers, has been extended to 4,400 nautical miles (8,149 kilometers or 5,063 miles) with eight passengers, or 4,500 nautical miles (8,344 kilometers or 5,179 miles) with four passengers, both with NBAA IFR reserves.
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On the occasion of the visit of the French Prime Minister in Egypt, it was announced that Arianespace has been chosen to launch the Nilesat 201 satellite, as part of a turnkey contract that Thales Alenia Space signed with Egyptian operator Nilesat. Nilesat 201 will be placed into geostationary transfer orbit by an Ariane 5 or Soyuz rocket launched from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, during the first quarter of 2010. Nilesat 201 is the third satellite launched by Arianespace for the Egyptian operator, following Nilesat 101 and 102, launched successfully in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
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International Launch Services (ILS) and Eutelsat Communications S.A. have set a first quarter 2009 launch date for the W2A satellite, which will be the 50th commercial Proton launch for ILS as well as its first mission of the new year. In addition, the companies announced a new contract under which ILS will launch another Eutelsat mission in 2010. That payload is not yet named. These announcements come on the heels of the successful Dec. 10 launch of the ILS Proton Breeze M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. That mission, with the Ciel II satellite, was the sixth ILS launch of the year and the 4th successful mission in 4 months' time.
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British Airways is to resume flights to Saudi Arabia, with five services a week from its London Heathrow hub to both Jeddah and Riyadh from 29 March.  It will serve Riyadh with Boeing 777s, and Jeddah with 767s.  BA suspended operations to Saudi Arabia in March 2005 because of the poor commercial performance of its flights, but the country has remained on the oneworld network through flights by other member airlines.  Royal Jordanian serves both Jeddah and Riyadh along with Dammam with Riyadh also receiving Cathay Pacific flights.
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Malév Hungarian Airlines has taken delivery of the first of eight Q400 turboprops it will add to its fleet during the next few years as a key part of its fleet rationalisation strategy.  The aircraft are 30 per cent more fuel efficient per seat than the Fokker F70s and CRJ200s they will replace on the airline's regional routes.
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After already holding the main certifications from the world's aviation industry, both in airplane and component maintenance, VEM Maintenance & Engineering was chosen by Airbus as its only Authorized Repair Center in Latin America to overhaul the rudder of the Airbus A310 fleet. VEM's technical capacity, which is recognized worldwide, was the determining factor for the company to be chosen and certified. Another positive point was VEM's "White Room" (a chamber with environmental control: temperature, relative humidity, and suspended particles), which can hold the rudder of the A310, and meets all of Airbus' control standards.
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Copa Airlines, subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A., and Boeing announced Copa's firm order for four Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation aircraft for delivery within the next three years. Copa now has increased its orders for Boeing 737 aircraft from nine to 13, with options for future orders.
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The Minister of Public Works and Government Services, the Honourable Christian Paradis, and the Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, announced amendments to the contracts with Sikorsky International Operations, Inc., for the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Project. “These amendments represent a significant accomplishment in getting compliant maritime helicopters with a minimum of delay, while protecting the investment of Canadian taxpayers,” said Minister Paradis. “They will ensure that the Canadian Forces receive the new leading-edge helicopters that they need.” “The Canadian Forces will now receive their first Cyclone helicopter in November 2010, a date that will allow our men and women in uniform to continue their outstanding work,” stated Minister MacKay. “We're getting a great aircraft and we have come to the best agreement possible for the Canadian Forces members and for the Canadian public.” In November 2004, the Government of Canada signed contracts with Sikorsky International Operations Inc. for the Maritime Helicopter Project, to provide 28 helicopters to replace the Canadian Forces Sea King helicopter fleet, as well as 20 years of in-service support and a training facility. In January 2008, Sikorsky formally advised the Government of delays in the original schedule. As a result of in-depth negotiations, these contract amendments were made to minimize the schedule changes, and add valuable cost-effective improvements to the helicopters within the original budget of the project.
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Lockheed Martin rolled out the first weight-optimized conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of the F-35 Lightning II fighter on Dec. 19. The new F-35A, called AF-1, joins three weight-optimized F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variants currently undergoing testing. The aircraft are structurally identical to the F-35s that will be delivered to armed services beginning in 2010. "The Lightning II CTOL aircraft will be, by far, the most widely employed F-35 variant in the world, with more than 1,700 to be used by the U.S. Air Force alone," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. "The F-35A we delivered is, at its core, the same aircraft that will enter operational service with the Air Force and international customers." The first F-35A, known as AA-1, has completed 69 flights, and has a production-representative external shape and internal systems. Unlike AF-1 and the other F-35 test aircraft, AA-1's internal structure was designed before a 2004 weight-savings program resulted in structural revisions to all three F-35 variants. AF-1 is the first F-35 to have employed the moving assembly line at its full-rate production speed of 50 inches (127 millimeters) per hour. Workers tested the system by installing the vertical tails as the line moved at maximum speed. The moving assembly line, designed to improve production quality and speed, is the first ever for a modern fighter. AF-1 becomes the first aircraft since World War II to use a moving assembly line at Lockheed Martin's (formerly Consolidated Vultee, Convair and General Dynamics) Fort Worth factory. F-35 Lightning II systems and parts are built by industries worldwide. Six F-35s are now complete, 17 are in assembly – including the first Low Rate Initial Production aircraft – and F-35 test aircraft have completed 83 flights.
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