14.12.2008
FLUG REVUE

2008-12-15 - News in BriefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen+++Lockheed Martin's Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, or “CATBird,” has begun in-flight integration and verification of the F-35 Lightning II mission systems suite, launching another stage of risk reduction for the world's newest fighter. The CATBird, a highly modified 737 airliner, will test the avionics suite thoroughly for several months before the complete system begins flying in an F-35 aircraft.

Kurzmeldungen
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Lockheed Martin's Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, or “CATBird,” has begun in-flight integration and verification of the F-35 Lightning II mission systems suite, launching another stage of risk reduction for the world's newest fighter. The CATBird, a highly modified 737 airliner, will test the avionics suite thoroughly for several months before the complete system begins flying in an F-35 aircraft. The entire F-35 avionics system is slated for airborne testing in the CATBird in 2009. The CATBird's 40th flight, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, was its first configured as a complete classified mission systems laboratory. All test objectives were met in the 2.4 hour sortie. “We were able to transmit using the radar for 23 minutes and selected six different TACAN (tactical control and navigation) stations, with data displayed on the F-35 cockpit that resides in the CATBird,” said Eric Branyan, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Air System Development. “The results matched our predictions.” The first Lightning II aircraft to fly with the full avionics package will be a short takeoff/vertical landing F-35B, called BF-4. All previous F-35 test aircraft are “flight sciences” aircraft, designed to validate the fighter's aerodynamic performance. BF-4 is the first F-35 “mission systems” aircraft and is scheduled to make its first flight in mid-2009.
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It has been confirmed in a statement, made by Defence Secretary John Hutton, that the Future Lynx contract signed in June 2006 by the UK Ministry of Defence with AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, will proceed to full scale production. 62 aircraft will be initially procured, 34 for the British Army and 28 for the Royal Navy. With a common design, sensor and weapon capability, Future Lynx will be optimised for either the maritime or battlefield environments, with the versatility and flexibility to be able to be rapidly switched from one role to another. The aircraft will have a multi-role capability able to perform a range of tasks including battlefield reconnaissance, maritime surface attack and utility lift tasks. The UK Ministry of Defence also intends to sign a contract within the next few weeks with AgustaWestland that will pull forward Future Lynx programme technologies to provide a rapid upgrade of 12 British Army Lynx AH Mk.9 aircraft with CTS800-4N engines to significantly improve the performance of these aircraft in hot and high operating conditions. The first four of the 12 aircraft will be delivered in late 2009 and the remaining eight will be delivered in 2010. The CTS800-4N engines and associated equipment will be pulled forward from the Future Lynx programme. The new engines produce 37% more power than the current Gem engines that are fitted to the Lynx AH Mk.9 giving the aircraft a significant increase in power which will allow the aircraft to operate in extreme hot and high conditions.
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Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., have successfully demonstrated an autonomous landing of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, marking the first time an F-16 has landed entirely under computer control. The successful Autoland demonstration lays the foundation for consistent, repeatable and controlled automatic landings of the F-16 in various wind conditions and airfield situations. This Lockheed Martin-developed technology has broad applications for both manned and unmanned aircraft. “The demonstration of an autonomous landing of an F-16 is evidence that Lockheed Martin is prepared to successfully implement autonomous control of Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV)-type aircraft,” said Frank Cappuccio, Lockheed Martin's executive vice president and general manager of Advanced Development Programs and Strategic Planning. “Such technology, in concert with the skill and experience of today's warfighter, presents a formidable force against existing foes and provides a basis for further developing manned and unmanned vehicles that can meet the challenges facing the warfighters of tomorrow,” he said.
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WestJet commented on the successful conclusion of the Canada-European Union air transport agreement. "We are pleased to see the successful conclusion of this agreement, which will provide benefit to WestJet as more people will have access to our award-winning guest experience," said Sean Durfy, President and CEO. "As we move forward, we hope the government will ensure a level playing field for all competitors," continued Mr. Durfy. "As part of this, we have long felt that the government needs to carry out an overall cohesive and consultative review of the taxes and fees charged to the travelling public in Canada to ensure a healthy and competitive operating environment."
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Inmedius announced the adoption of its S1000D and Quality Assurance software solutions by LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH (LFK), a German missile system company belonging to the European MBDA group, and partner in the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) Program. The Munich, Germany-based firm will utilize Inmedius' comprehensive technical publishing system to support the use of Logistic Support Analysis Record (LSAR) data to author and manage S1000D procedural documentation. “LFK has been using the European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) data base for some time, but needed a new system to support the newer versions of the Specification,” stated Wilko Halder, Project Manager Supportability, LFK. “The Inmedius solution was chosen for its ease of use and the fact that numerous MEADS sites have already implemented the software with excellent results. LFK's current project has successfully passed the preliminary design phase and will require multiple changes in the following detailed development phases.”
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Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines have powered the first scheduled flight of Aeroflot's new A330-200, marking the Trent aero engine's entry into service in Russia. The A330-200, which flew from Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow, to St. Petersburg Pulkovo, on 4 December, is the newest addition to Aeroflot's fleet. The airline will take ten leased A330-200s and A330-300s, all powered by the Trent 700. All the engines will be supported by Rolls-Royce under a long-term TotalCare(r) service agreement and the total value of the previously-announced business to Rolls-Royce is around
$600 million at list prices.
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Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) and Kartika Airlines have signed the Heads of Agreement for 15 Sukhoi Superjet 100s and another 15 optional aircraft. The order is valued at $448 million at list prices. With the announcement, Kartika Airlines is the first SSJ100 customer in South-East Asia. "With Kartika Airlines being our launch customer in South-East Asia we are opening a new market for SSJ100," said Victor Soubbotine, president SCAC. "It's a real milestone for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 Programme which is gaining pace having recently launched the full-scale certification phase. The first results of flight tests which are under way in Komsomolsk confirm designed characteristics and bring confidence that SSJ100 will be a perfect match to Kartika's fleet." Kartika Airlines, an Indonesian regional airline, will employ the aircraft in both its domestic and international networks. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2011.
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Aerojet announced that its 150-lbf thrust high performance storable bipropellant engine demonstrated a specific impulse of 333.5 seconds at its Redmond, Wash. facility. The Advanced Materials Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine was designed and tested under contract to NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program (ISPT), http://www.inspacepropulsion.com, with the goal of maximizing the performance of storable bipropellant engines. The ISPT Program, located at NASA Glenn Research Center, develops propulsion technologies to enable or benefit near and mid-term NASA space science missions by significantly reducing spacecraft cost, mass and travel times. Aerojet's AMBR engine incorporates an innovative injector and pre-combustor design with an iridium-lined rhenium combustion chamber, packaged within the envelope of existing 100-lbf thrust engines. The flight design engine uses hydrazine fuel and nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer at feed pressures and mixture ratios typical of current flight propulsion systems. The engine demonstrated acoustic and thermal stability at chamber temperatures of up to 4000 F (2200 C). The test series covered a wide range of mixture ratios, feed pressures and burn durations, including steady state burns lasting as long as 800 seconds.
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Spanair continues to make progress in the implementation of the Viability Plan launched last July 16th, after the approval of the Redundancy Plan by the Spanish labour authority. The total number of employees from Spanair and Fuerza de Ventas affected is 702, of whom 517 are permanent contract terminations and 185 jobs will be converted into part time in the Pilots, Cabin Crew and Maintenance Technicians groups. The labour authority ratifies the targeted staff reduction submitted by the airline last December 3rd. This will allow the company to secure its business goals, and advance in the implementation of its Viability Plan in order to consolidate Spanair as a more efficient, flexible and customer focused company, further reducing costs and improving revenue generating initiatives. The implementation of the Plan will allow an estimated improvement of 90 million Euros for 2009. Subject to the market environment, the company expects to break even or generate a small profit by 2010. Another feature of the plan, is the concentration from seven to two operational bases, Madrid and Barcelona, allowing a simpler and more demand based production model.
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The aerospace industry is showing resiliency in trying economic times, ending 2008 with modest growth and continued strength in important areas like foreign trade balance and employment, AIA announced Wednesday. While the industry has not been immune to effects from the ongoing global financial crisis, it is showing relative strength, AIA president and CEO Marion Blakey said during the annual AIA Year-End Review and Forecast. "We are in an extremely challenging economic atmosphere, but our industry is proving to be remarkably durable," Blakey said. "We anticipate this to continue, and we expect our industry will continue to be an asset to the U.S. economy as we climb out of our current financial hardships." Aerospace sales are on pace to reach $204 billion for 2008. This is an increase of 2.1 percent - a lower rate than in recent years, but a record sales figure for the industry for the fifth consecutive year. The industry will also continue to post very strong export numbers, reaching $99.2 billion for the year. That fuels a critically important foreign trade surplus of about $61 billion, almost exactly the figure the industry logged in 2007. It is the largest trade surplus of any U.S. manufacturing sector. Employment also remained solid, with an average workforce that will reach 655,500 for the year. The total was 657,700 in figures released in September. The average is about 10,000 more than the average for 2007.
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Lockheed Martin has delivered faster mission rehearsal preparation to the U.S. Navy as a result of a recent upgrade to its TOPSCENE mission rehearsal system. The improvement has significantly increased the speed at which the system converts two-dimensional terrain images into accurate three-dimensional workspaces, speeding the system by a factor of 20. The TOPSCENE system supports mission planning, mission preview, mission rehearsal and mission training. Using real-world images, Warfighters can repeatedly rehearse a mission, taking advantage of visually significant clues and aim points. Knowing exactly what the terrain and built-up areas will look like during the real mission greatly increases Warfighters' chances of a successful mission. The new software was installed in August at the Naval Strike Air Warfare Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, NV. This "grid-enabled" application, produced by Digipede Technologies, allows a network of machines to work in parallel to process the geospatial environment. Instead of one computer operating at a single speed, the work is farmed out to a set of computer nodes supporting the same objective.
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NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has completed its primary, two-year science phase. The spacecraft has found signs of a complex Martian history of climate change that produced a diversity of past watery environments. The orbiter has returned 73 terabits of science data, more than all earlier Mars missions combined. The spacecraft will build on this record as it continues to examine Mars in unprecedented detail during its next two-year phase of science operations. Among the major findings during the primary science phase is the revelation that the action of water on and near the surface of Mars occurred for hundreds of millions of years. This activity was at least regional and possibly global in extent, though possibly intermittent. The spacecraft also observed that signatures of a variety of watery environments, some acidic, some alkaline, increase the possibility that there are places on Mars that could reveal evidence of past life, if it ever existed.
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At their annual Board Meeting, the CEOs of the Star Alliance member airlines have voted to accept the application of Brussels Airlines to become a future member of the alliance. Brussels Airlines is the Belgian airline offering the widest choice of flights to and from the "capital" of Europe. With a fleet of 45 aircraft the airline operates some 300 daily flights to 55 European airports and 15 African destinations.
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On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 36 AT-6B Texan II aircraft as well as associated support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million. On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 20 T-6A Texan aircraft, 20 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $210 million.
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A significant increase in helicopter capacity for troops in Afghanistan is part of a package of measures to rebalance the Defence equipment programme towards the support of current operations announced by UK Defence Secretary John Hutton, Thursday 11 December 2008. In May 2008 the MOD began an examination of the equipment programme with the aim of adapting to the rising cost of high-end defence equipment and providing more support for current operations. In a statement to Parliament, Mr Hutton stressed that support to current operations remained the MOD's highest priority and to that end announced a significant increase to helicopter capacity in Afghanistan which, he added, was one of the highest priorities for operational commanders.  The number of helicopter airframes and hours available to commanders in Afghanistan had been increased by around 60 per cent over the past two years. But Mr Hutton announced today that - in addition to planned battlefield helicopter procurements - £70 million more will be spent from the Reserve to upgrade 12 Lynx Mark 9 helicopters with new engines, with the first aircraft available by the end of 2009.  "We have concluded that there is scope for bringing more closely into line the introduction of the Joint Combat Aircraft and the Aircraft Carrier. This is likely to mean delaying the In Service Date of the new carriers by 1-2 years. We are in close consultation with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance on how this might best be done. Construction is already under way and will continue, the programme will still provide stability for the core shipyard workforce, including 10,000 UK jobs.
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The Spanish Air Force (SpAF) has received the first three Eurofighter production aircraft of Tranche 2. The fourth unit will be delivered in the near future. The delivery follows the Type Acceptance agreement for Block 8 (Tranche 2) achieved on 12th September. Enrique Barrientos, CEO of EADS Defence & Security in Spain, underlined that “the Spanish Air Force is more and more getting benefit from the maturity achieved by the most advanced new-generation combat aircraft in operation. The delivery of these Tranche 2 aircraft steps into the following phase of operational capabilities for our customers and underlines the continuous technological enhancement of the weapon system”.
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International Launch Services (ILS) successfully carried the Ciel II satellite into space for the Ciel Satellite Group of Canada on 10 December on Russia's premier heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Proton Breeze M. This was the sixth launch of the year, and 49th overall, for ILS. It is the 340th launch for the Proton system since its inception. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow. The Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 7:43 p.m. local time (8:43 a.m. EST, 13:43 GMT). The launch vehicle carried the 5 1/2-ton satellite for 9 hours and 12 minutes, releasing it into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Ciel II is a Spacebus 4000 model built by Thales Alenia Space. The satellite will ultimately be moved to 129 degrees West longitude, where it will deliver digital television services to Canada and the contiguous United States.
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The Middle East traffic region is a fundamental and strong pillar in the corporate strategy of Austrian Airlines. The route to Tel Aviv is amongst the routes in the Austrian route network distinguished by a very high load factor of more than 80% and strong demand. Austrian Airlines is therefore planning to expand its seating capacity on the route by 30% from May 2009 onwards. This is being made possible by the use of a Boeing 767 with 235 seats, which will become available due to the cancellation of the long-haul destination of Mumbai from March onwards. Until now, both daily services to Tel Aviv have been operated using an Airbus A321, offering a maximum of 193 seats. For passengers, this doesn't just mean more supply; it also means a significantly higher level of comfort. Seats on Business Class long-haul routes (sleeper seats) are 2 metres long and with legroom of up to 150 cm and are equipped with numerous practical functions. High-value materials have been used to create the seats – the use of real leather being just one example – with an impressive attention to detail. A wide range of sophisticated comfort elements makes the journey especially comfortable, from a tilting reading lamp and extra-wide television screen to a built-in massage function in the seat.
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The SIMMAD recently awarded Dassault Aviation a 10-year contract to provide maintenance for all of the equipment within its work scope for the 120 Rafale aircraft ordered to date by the French Air Force and Navy. This contract marks a key milestone in the operation of the Rafale in the armed forces over the coming years. The State's targets for fleet operational availability and reduction of Rafale maintenance costs have been satisfied thanks to a global, long-term maintenance contract based on payment per flying hour, with a commitment by Dassault Aviation to ensure that the amount will be regressive in future years.
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Embraer's Phenom 100 entry level executive jet was certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). All design goals were met or even surpassed. First deliveries begin next week. “We are thrilled to announce that the Phenom 100 is certified by the FAA, as planned, confirming all of the exceptional performance characteristics previously approved by ANAC,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer Executive Vice President, Executive Jets. “U.S. certification validates the jet's design and its suitability for one of the most important business aviation markets.” The FAA granted U.S. Type Certificate based upon Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency's (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil – ANAC) Type Certificate issued on December 9. EASA certification is expected for the second quarter of 2009.
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