08.12.2008
FLUG REVUE

2008-12-08 - News in BriefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Four CV-22 Ospreys from the 8th Special Operations<br /> Squadron here returned after completing their first operational<br /> deployment&nbsp;supporting Exercise Flintlock 2009 in November in<br /> Bamako, Mali. The aircraft supported&nbsp;the training exercise in<br /> the Trans-Saharan region designed to build relationships and capacity<br /> and to enhance African nations' ability to patrol and control their<br /> sovereign territory.

Kurzmeldungen
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Four CV-22 Ospreys from the 8th Special Operations Squadron here returned after completing their first operational deployment supporting Exercise Flintlock 2009 in November in Bamako, Mali. The aircraft supported the training exercise in the Trans-Saharan region designed to build relationships and capacity and to enhance African nations' ability to patrol and control their sovereign territory. The exercise included personnel from 15 countries, and the CV-22 served as a platform for multinational training. Specifically, the aircraft was used to transport Malian and Senegalese special operations forces and their leadership teams. "We did long range, vertical lift, and dropped (teams) off at a landing zone," said Capt. Dennis Woodlief, an 8th SOS pilot. "They practiced their ground movements, then we brought them back." Missions like this allowed the CV-22 to take advantage of its unique capabilities as a tilt rotor aircraft, said Lt. Col. Eric Hill, the 8th SOS squadron commander. "The tyranny of distance in the African continent is amazing," he said. "We were able to go over 500 nautical miles, infiltrate a small team for them to run their exercise, and bring them back all the way to home base without doing an air refueling stop. And we were able to do that in the span of about four hours. "
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Delta announced plans to decrease systemwide capacity, for both Delta and Northwest, during 2009. This action comes as a result of the global economic recession and weaker demand for air travel. Systemwide 2009 capacity will be down 6-8% year over year. Domestic capacity will be down 8-10% and international capacity will be down approximately 3-5%. These numbers include the full impact of previously announced 2008 capacity reductions. Delta has established itself as an industry leader. Once again, Delta must take the necessary steps to adjust our business accordingly and make certain seat capacity meets customer demand. These economic hurdles are difficult, and we remain committed to building our company on a durable financial foundation with industry-leading liquidity. Remember that speed wins so we will be decisive and not delay. As Rules of the Road states, Speed in execution is the difference between success and failure. Even with the economic recession, we are achieving significant benefits from our merger and will continue to do so. The merger has allowed us to develop growth opportunities as we connect the networks to create new revenue streams neither airline could have achieved independently. We will continue to follow the Flight Plan to invest in and further diversify our international network in the Pacific, Africa, India and the Middle East to help mitigate the risk from specific regional economies. We will remain focused on, and continue to adapt to, the rapidly changing global economy to better align supply with demand.
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Boeing engineering and technical employees represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) IFPTE Local 2001 ratified four-year collective bargaining agreements covering nearly 21,000 employees in Washington, Oregon, California and Utah. "These contracts reward our employees for the valuable contributions they make to Boeing's success," said Doug Kight, Boeing vice president of Human Resources. "These agreements also enable us to remain competitive and position Boeing to continue to win new business during these challenging economic times." Employees voted on two contracts: The first covers 14,000 engineers in the SPEEA Professional Bargaining Unit. The second contract covers 7,000 technical workers in the union's Technical Bargaining Unit. The contracts go into effect Dec. 2, 2008, and expire Oct. 6, 2012.
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The aircraft industry is developing the More Electric Aircraft (MEA), with the ultimate goal of distributing only electrical power across the airframe. The replacement of existing systems with electric equivalents has, and will continue to significantly increase the electrical power requirement.  New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Global Commercial Aviation Electrical Power Systems and Infrastructure Market Assessment, estimates the market to reach more than US$24.0 billion by 2017. "The use of More Electric architecture on aircraft offers significant cost benefits with lower recurring costs, due to fewer parts, integration of key sub-systems and multi-use of components," observes Frost & Sullivan Consulting Analyst Balaji Srimoolanathan. "It also reduces the overall cost of operation and ownership, because its architecture helps contain fuel consumption and increase overall aircraft performance and energy usage. Reduced maintenance and ground support also help lower the cost of ownership and operation." Conventional aircraft employ a number of systems dependent on hydraulic, mechanical, pneumatic and electrical sources. Due to the ineffectiveness of these systems and their weight contribution, novel technologies have to evolve to generate, distribute and utilise electrical power as an alternative to conventional systems to drive components.
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Arik Air, the fast growing private airline based in Lagos, Nigeria, received its first A340-500 at a ceremony at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. The ceremony was conducted by John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, and Arik Air Chairman Sir J.I.A Arumemi-Johnson in the presence of senior government officials from various African states, board members and key business partners of the airline, and other VIP guests. The new aircraft is the first of three A340-500s ordered by Arik Air for use on international long-haul routes to London, New York and Houston. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines, the carrier's new A340s will offer the best possible passenger comfort in a two-class configuration.
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Nordic Aviation Capital A/S ("NAC") and KIRK Kapital A/S are pleased to announce an agreement for a sale and leaseback transaction with AMR Leasing Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation) for 39 ATR 72 aircraft operated by Executive Airlines, Inc. (also a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation doing business as "American Eagle"). AMR Leasing Corporation will sell the 39 ATR 72 aircraft to an entity that will lease the aircraft to NK Aviation Limited, Ireland, a newly formed joint venture between NAC and Kirk Kapital A/S. Executive Airlines will lease the aircraft back through a sublease structure and will continue to be the operator of the aircraft. NAC will be the servicer for the aircraft.
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Embraer signed a firm order with Globalia, owned by Juan Jose Hidalgo, President of JJH Capital and Air Europa, for an additional six EMBRAER 195 jets, to be operated by Air Europa, a subsidiary of Globalia. The deal is valued at US$ 237 million, at list price, based on January 2008 economic conditions, and converts the purchase rights originally announced in February 2008. This transaction is already included in Embraer's third quarter firm order backlog as "undisclosed"."This is great news for Embraer and we are very pleased to broaden our relationship with Air Europa. The company's decision to further expand its E- Jets fleet makes us really proud," said Mauro Kern, Embraer Executive Vice President, Airline Market. "I'm sure the EMBRAER 195 will nicely complement their wide and narrow body fleets and will play an important role in their expansion plans." The new EMBRAER 195 will be flown by Air Europa on short and medium routes in Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, and Europe. Delivery of the first aircraft confirming a purchase right, should take place by mid-2010. Air Europa will be the first operator in the world to fly the EMBRAER 195 in a single-class, 122-seat layout.
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CAE launched the next-generation CAE Medallion-6000 image generator at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). The CAE Medallion image generator family is CAEs long-standing visual system designed specifically for the military simulation market. The latest generation CAE Medallion-6000 image generator is based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) graphics processors from NVIDIA Corporation and delivers a range of new features and capabilities for the military simulation market including: Increased sustained polygon capacity of more than 100,000 polygons, meaning more realistic three-dimensional (3D) content and terrain detail; Use of next-generation shaders to improve realism, such as dynamic shadows; 3D volumetric cloud layers for enhanced training cues in adverse weather; Full support for the Common Image Generator Interface (CIGI) 3.1 specification to ease systems integration.
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NASA has signed a $141 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation services planned through the spring of 2012. The firm-fixed price extension covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, crew rescue, and landing of a long-duration mission for three station crew members. The crew members will launch on two Soyuz vehicles in the fall of 2011. They will land in the spring of 2012. The flights may be used to meet NASA's obligations to its international partners for transportation to and from the station. The contract extension also provides for the two Soyuz flights to carry limited cargo to and from the station and dispose of trash. The cargo allowed per person is approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) launched to the station, approximately 37 pounds (17 kilograms) returned to Earth, and trash disposal of approximately 66 pounds (30 kilograms).
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The first production VH-71 presidential replacement helicopter has arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River by U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane from helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland. The helicopter, called pilot production one (PP-1), will undergo two months of ground vibration testing before flying to prime contractor Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY, for installation of the mission systems, communications suite, and presidential interior and exterior livery. "This is a watershed event in the execution of this program," said Jeff Bantle, Lockheed Martin VH-71 vice president and general manager. "It's the fifth VH-71 helicopter to join the program, and a significant milestone because it's the first of five pilot production aircraft to begin testing. These pilot production aircraft will be delivered to the HMX-1 squadron after completion of a comprehensive test progra
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By 2018, $67.3 billion a year will be spent on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of military aircraft throughout the world, according to an in-depth study offered by OAG Aviation Solutions  in partnership with AeroStrategy. This is an increase of 14.9% on 2008 levels of $58.6 billion. This figure is revealed in a fact-based profile and 10-year forecast of the global military MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) market. The analysis and reports, which have just been completed and released, combine OAG's extensive aviation fleet information with AeroStrategy's Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) forecast databases. OAG's report on the current profile of the world's military airline market reveals that:  49% of all spend is on field maintenance; followed by 20% on airframe depot maintenance; 17% on component repair and overhaul; and 14% on engine overhaul.  62% of the global active fleet of 38,520 aircraft is in North America and Europe.  Engine maintenance spend is concentrated in North America with 53% of the total figure compared to 38% of the fleet.  Fighter/Attack aircraft account for 59% of the global spend on engine maintenance and 46% of airframe maintenance. US Air Force is single largest consumer of airframe MRO at 35% of the total.  The largest spend for component MRO is on flight deck avionics with 25% share. Military aircraft MRO spending is forecasted to grow at 1.4 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2018, with the Latin America region showing the highest growth at 2.10 percent.
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Alenia Aeronauticas Flight Test Centre reached a significant milestone in November when Commander Mario Mutti and Weapon Systems Officer Marcello Battaglia made the 1000th test flight with the Tornado fighter-bomber developed by Alenia, BAE Systems and EADS which forms the backbone of the Italian, German, British and Saudi air forces.  The 1000th flight took off from Turin-Caselle airport, where Alenia Aeronauticas Flight Test Centre is based, for a one-hour test for the integration of a new TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) system and the MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) datalink system. The aircraft landed at Decimomannu Italian Air Force base, where it will complete testing of the new equipment.
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Embraer is pleased to welcome Arkia Israeli Airlines to its E-Jets customer family. The airline will operate one EMBRAER 195 jet from Tel Aviv to major Mediterranean and European destinations. There will be no changes to Embraers current backlog, due to this announcement, since the aircraft was previously delivered to Air Europa.
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The VH-71 presidential helicopter replacement program marked another milestone last Saturday with the maiden flight of the second VH-71 production aircraft. The aircraft is scheduled to arrive at U.S. Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, later this month. The VH-71 program's first production aircraft arrived at the Navy's facility November 24, and is conducting ground vibration testing. Five production and four test helicopters make up the program's first phase, or Increment One. The Increment One helicopters provide more capability than the current fleet which is scheduled to begin phasing out of operational service at a rate of three per year beginning in 2017.
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Officials from Air Mobility Command's 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center set a new record for the number of sorties planned in a 24-hour period in November. The new mark, set at 1,063 sorties, toppled the previous high of 1,051 set in February of 2008. Members of the 618th TACC are the execution arm for global airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations. An AMC sortie is a single point-to-point flight by an aircraft under AMC operational control performing a warfighting, exercise, contingency or aeromedical evacuation requirement for the U.S. Transportation Command.  While the record is a significant marker, planning hundreds of missions daily is business as usual for the 618th TACC staff.
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Based on the outstanding success of the first tandem mission between ERS-2 and Envisat last year, ESA has paired the two satellites together again to help improve our understanding of the planet. ERS-2, ESA's veteran spacecraft, and Envisat, the largest environmental satellite ever built, both carry Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments that provide high resolution images of the Earth's surface. By combining two or more SAR images of the same site, slight alterations that may have occurred between acquisitions can be detected. This technique, known as SAR interferometry or InSAR, has proven to be very useful for applications such as glacier monitoring, surface deformation detection and terrain mapping. ESA engineers configured the first SAR tandem mission, which took place from September 2007 to February 2008, and the current one, which began on 23 November, to ensure that the satellites both acquire data over the same area just 28 minutes apart.
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Continental Airlines announced that it will launch daily nonstop service between its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport and Frankfurt effective Nov. 1, 2009 (eastbound), subject to government approval. "We are pleased to add Frankfurt to the list of international cities we serve from Houston," said Jim Compton, executive vice president of marketing. "In addition to providing a link to the financial center of Germany, the Houston to Frankfurt route will provide convenient onward connections for travelers from throughout the Americas to points in Europe, Asia and Africa." Flights will depart Houston daily at 6:50 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 11:40 a.m. the next morning. The return flights will depart Frankfurt daily at 1:40 p.m. and arrive in Houston at 5:50 p.m. the same day.
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The CVN Charles de Gaulle refit and upgrade was completed on 1 December 2008. Prime contractor DCNS conducted this exceptional shipyard project at a sustained pace to complete it on time in just 15 months. The Group successfully coordinated the efforts of its own teams, subcontractors, the ship's crew and Navy fleet maintenance teams. The main aims were to refurbish the ship and its systems, overhaul and refuel the nuclear reactors, modernise the command information and communication systems, and modify the ship to accommodate new weapon systems scheduled to be introduced in 2009, including Rafale combat aircraft to standard F3 and ASMP-A and Scalp Naval missiles.
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A major milestone has been achieved on the Nimrod MRA4 programme with the first production aircraft, PA04, being powered up for the first time. As electrical power coursed through the new aircraft, test engineers worked through the test procedure without a glitch. A high level of build maturity is needed for power to be applied. The aircraft is currently 93 per cent complete, and the successful power on will allow the remainder to be completed. Further tests and checks will be conducted before the vast array of computers, systems and sensors are installed and the aircraft powered up again.
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Thales announced that the Turkish Navys future CN235 maritime patrol aircraft made its first flight this week. Modified by Thales and industrial partners TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft, the aircraft features the AMASCOS system (Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) to provide Turkish naval forces with advanced anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. This new milestone further consolidates Thales's European leadership in maritime surveillance and patrol systems.Meltem is the most ambitious maritime surveillance and patrol programme conducted in Europe over the last decade. For Meltem II, Thales is modifying three CN235s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish coastguard and six CN235s in anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration. For Meltem III, Alenia is integrating Thales's AMASCOS system on ten ATR-72 ASW platforms.
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MTU Maintenance in November has been awarded nine contracts worth about 500 million euros and came on strong in a hotly contested market. "The deals we made again demonstrate that amid a difficult economic environment, MTU remains competitive and well positioned," commented Egon Behle, CEO of MTU Aero Engines. The agreements signed in part are long-term, up to ten-year arrangements covering V2500, CF6 and PW2000 engines. They mostly come from the United States and Europe. Shortly before the turn of the year, Behle said he was satisfied with the way things were going: "This year, MTU has pulled significant levers for the years ahead also in the OEM segment. We've launched into four new engine programs that will figure substantially in sales over the next several decades." The company estimates the programs to be worth in the vicinity of 20 billion euros taken over their life. They involve the PW810 for large business jets, the two geared turbofan engines PW1217G for the upcoming Mitsubishi Regional Jet and PW1524G for the Bombardier CSeries, as well as the GE38 to power heavy-lift helicopters. MTU has taken a stake also in two versions of General Electric's LM6000 gas turbine.
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ViaSat-1, a high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite, is scheduled for launch by an Ariane 5 during the first half of 2011 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. ViaSat-1 will be dedicated to providing broadband internet media services to consumers and businesses over North America. With a capacity estimated at 100 Gbps, ViaSat-1 is expected to be (at launch) the highest capacity satellite in the world. Built by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California, the satellite is expected to weigh approximately 6,000 kg at launch. This is the 86th launch contract won by Arianespace in the United States.
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Alliant Techsystems, in partnership with Goodrich ISR Systems Division, was awarded a contract to produce the first operational Air Force ORS satellite, designated ORS Sat-1. The contract was awarded by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's Space Development and Test Wing. ATK will provide the spacecraft bus systems to Goodrich, who as the satellite prime contractor will integrate it with their payload. The bus design is based on ATK Space System's Responsive Space Modular Bus (RSMB) designed to meet the needs of the ORS office. "The integrated satellite will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to satisfy an urgent and compelling need for the Combatant Commander," stated Tom Wilson, Vice President of Systems, Thermal and Services for ATK Space Systems. "With this satellite bus, ATK continues to supply our customers with cost effective ISR satellite buses similar to Earth Observer-1 (EO-1), and the soon to be launched TacSat-3." ORS Sat-1 is planned for launch in 2010. It leverages capabilities and technologies from Goodrich ISR Systems Division's space and airborne imaging technologies.
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Boeing, working with industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, completed the successful intercept of a target warhead in the most challenging test to date of the United States' only long-range ballistic missile defense system. "This test demonstrated that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system can defeat a long-range ballistic missile target," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "This intercept is further proof that GMD can provide our nation with an effective defense against the threat of long-range ballistic missiles." The GMD system test began at 3:04 p.m. Eastern time when a long-range ballistic missile target lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska. Military operators launched an interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base to intercept this threat-representative target. As the interceptor flew toward the target, it received target data updates from the GMD fire control system, which collected and combined data from four different sensors, the most ever for an intercept test. The sensors were the Aegis Long Range Surveillance and Track system in the Pacific; the AN/TPY-2 radar temporarily located in Juneau, Alaska; the Upgraded Early Warning Radar at Beale Air Force Base, Calif.; and the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) in the Pacific. After flying into space, the interceptor released its exoatmospheric kill vehicle, which tracked, intercepted and destroyed the target warhead. This end-to-end test of the GMD system was the most realistic and comprehensive to date.
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US Air Force officials released Amendment 7 to the Request for Proposals for the Combat Search and Rescue helicopter Dec. 5. The amendment contains minor changes that are intended to further clarify how Air Force officials will make their source selection decision. Beyond the clarifications, Amendment 7 updates the schedule and funding profiles to properly align with the new schedule. The contract award date will be extended to accommodate this amendment, but an exact date has not been established.  The Air Force is committed to a fair and transparent process to select a new CSAR helicopter. The Air Force plans to buy 141 CSAR-X aircraft to replace the current aging fleet of HH-60G helicopters.
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The Board of Directors of RUAG Holding AG has appointed Dr. Lukas Braunschweiler as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RUAG Holding AG, effective 1 June 2009. The 52-year old Swiss national has international experience as a CEO, and will be the successor to Toni J. Wicki, who at 65 is now handing over management of the company, but will continue to fulfil his mandate on the Board of Directors.
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Embraer broke ground, for its first U.S. aircraft assembly plant and customer center at Melbourne International Airport. Present at the ceremony were Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Melbourne City Mayor Harry Goode, and other distinguished State and local officials manning ceremonial shovels, along with Embraer President & CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. The new facility will be dedicated to the Companys executive jet business and is scheduled for completion in 2010. When full capacity is reached, up to eight Phenom business jets will be produced every month at this facility. The Melbourne plant will become Embraers Executive Jets Customer Center for the configuration of the Phenom, Legacy and Lineage jets. Customers will be able to design their executive jets interior with the use of high-end 3D visualization technology, supported by a
showroom with a vast collection of interior finishing materials.
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