21.06.2008
FLUG REVUE

2008-06-22 - News in BriefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Six new communications satellites have been successfully launched on board a Cosmos 3M carrier, which lifted off from Kasputin Yar in Russia at 08:36:38 CET. They are to be used to augment and modernize the communications network operated by US satellite operator ORBCOMM Inc., which currently comprises 29 satellites.

One of the six new satellites, known as the ORBCOMM CDS, is a fully equipped demonstration satellite for the US Coast Guard. In addition to handling the previous communications activities, i.e. the transportation of data packets, it is also able to transmit Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals, thus offering the means of monitoring international shipping on a global basis for the first time. Going by the name of ORBCOMM Quick Launch, the other five satellites have been developed on the basis of the ORBCOMM CDS but are even more powerful due to their greater payload capacity. Thanks to an improved redundancy concept, their life expectancy has been increased to between eight and ten years.
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ESA's Jules Verne ATV was used for the first time yesterday to transfer in one step 811 kg of refuelling propellant to the International Space Station while the two vehicles orbited Earth at 28 000 km/h. With this premiere for Europe, Jules Verne becomes the first western spaceship to succeed in refuelling another space infrastructure in orbit. It took less than half an hour to automatically transfer about 280 kg of the Russian UDMH (Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) propellant fuel and 530 kg of Nitrogen Tetroxide (N2O4), (which provides a source of oxygen so the fuel can ignite and burn in orbit) to the International Space Station's (ISS) own Russian-built propulsion tanks. Because of the toxic and explosive characteristics of the hydrazine, the transfer is done through dedicated pipes located outside the pressurized structures of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and the Station. The fuel lines run from the ATV, through the docking mechanism to the Space Station's own plumbing.
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Space shuttle Discovery and its crew landed at 11:15 a.m. EDT, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., completing a 14-day journey of more than 5.7 million miles in space. The STS-124 mission was the second of three flights to launch components to the International Space Station to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Discovery delivered Kibo's tour bus-sized Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, which is the station's largest module. The mission included three spacewalks to install and outfit the JPM and activate its robotic arm system. The lab's logistics module, which was delivered and installed in a temporary location in March, was attached to its permanent position on top of the JPM. Mark Kelly commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Ken Ham, Mission Specialists Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Greg Chamitoff, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. Chamitoff remained aboard the space station, replacing Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who returned to Earth on Discovery after nearly three months on the station. Chamitoff will return on shuttle Endeavour's STS-126 mission, targeted for launch November 10.
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NASA is part of a team that received one of the most prestigious awards in aviation on June 12. Judges for the Robert J. Collier Trophy, awarded by the National Aeronautic Association, chose the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, team of public and private groups to receive the 2007 honor. Instead of relying on radar, ADS-B uses Global Positioning System satellite information to give pilots and controllers highly accurate traffic data, as well as displays that update in real time. The system also will give pilots access to weather services, terrain maps and flight information services. Government and industry leaders have worked for more than a decade to develop and implement this technology for the next generation of air traffic management. According to the selection committee, "ADS-B is a ground-breaking effort for next-generation airborne surveillance and cockpit avionics. Its implementation will have a broad impact on the safety, capacity and efficiency of the national airspace system."
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A new NASA-French space agency oceanography satellite launched on 20 June from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on a globe-circling voyage to continue charting sea level, a vital indicator of global climate change. The mission will return a vast amount of new data that will improve weather, climate and ocean forecasts. With a thunderous roar and fiery glow, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason 2 satellite arced through the blackness of an early central coastal California morning at 12:46 a.m. PDT, climbing into space atop a Delta II rocket. Fifty-five minutes later, OSTM/Jason 2 separated from the rocket's second stage, and then, unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays. Ground controllers successfully acquired the spacecraft's signals. Initial telemetry reports show it to be in excellent health. "Sea-level measurements from space have come of age," said Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. "Precision measurements from this mission will improve our knowledge of global and regional sea-level changes and enable more accurate weather, ocean and climate forecasts."
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Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation have demonstrated to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps the feasibility of transporting supplies to ground troops by an unmanned helicopter. During 45 minutes of operation at Ft. Eustis, VA, an unmanned K-MAX helicopter demonstrated autonomous take-off and landing, pick-up and delivery of a 3,000-pound sling load, and the ability to autonomously re-plan and detour from its designated route to accommodate changes to mission requirements and battlefield threats.  The demonstration also illustrated the ability of a single ground operator to use both spoken and data commands to control the aircraft via data link, perform precision maneuvers at the pick-up or drop zones, and easily transfer control to another ground operator for maximum interoperability. "Our objective was to show the Army that we have successfully integrated Lockheed Martin's mission management technology with a proven aerial lift helicopter to take on the routine but often dangerous work of re-supplying troops," said Michele Evans, Modernization and Sustainment vice president at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY.  "Our mission management technology gives the unmanned K-MAX a high level of system autonomy and intelligence to meet operational objectives with minimal human oversight."
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Gate Gourmet, the world's largest independent airline catering and logistics provider and a member of gategroup, has formed a joint venture with the Western Group of the United Arab Emirates to develop business in the Middle East. The new company will be called Gate Gourmet Middle East. The joint venture, along with co-investor Sultan International Group, will focus on opportunities for strategic investments and flight kitchen development in the Gulf region. Offices will be established in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. "The Middle East is experiencing spectacular growth in aviation and we are excited to plant the Gate Gourmet flag in the region," said Guy Dubois, President and CEO Designate of gategroup. "Other gategroup companies, such as deSter, eGate Solutions, Harmony, Performa and Elan already are doing business in the Gulf, and we look forward to new opportunities for Gate Gourmet, our core company," he said. Dubois noted that Gate Gourmet has successfully built relationships with Middle Eastern carriers, such as Qatar, Etihad, Emirates, Gulf Air and Royal Jet, in other parts of the world and is pleased to bring its expertise into their home territory. "Our reputation for best-in-class performance in airline catering and related aviation services, combined with the regional business expertise of Western Group and Sultan International Holding, will give the venture a solid foundation in which to participate in that booming market," he added.
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Langley Air Force Base, Va., June 13, 2008) -- The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing here is the first Air Guard unit to fly the F-22 Raptor in support of Operation Noble Eagle. Operation Noble Eagle was established by President George W. Bush to protect the American homeland following the terrorist attacks in September 2001.
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A Middle East customer has placed a firm order for two A318 Elites, highlighting the growing success of the newest and most affordable member of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) Family. Both aircraft will feature the classic VIP cabin created by Lufthansa Technik in partnership with Airbus – the largest and most comfortable of any aircraft in its class - which combines widespread appeal, practicality and affordability. They willl be powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines.
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TAM and Swiss International Air Lines, a member of the Star Alliance, signed a Memorandum of Understanding aiming to establish arrangements for cooperation to expand benefits offered to their passengers. The partnership involves the implementation of a codeshare agreement and the development of strategies for greater integration of TAM's Programa Fidelidade for frequent flyers with Miles & More. "This partnership will expand opportunities for synergy between the TAM and Swiss air networks, offering greater benefits to our customers through the provision of better services. In doing this, we hope to stimulate an increase in passenger traffic for both airlines," said Paulo Castello Branco, TAM's Vice President for Planning and Alliances.
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Diehl Aerospace, Liebherr Aerospace, Safran, Thales and Zodiac have today signed an agreement to create a company called OEM Defence Services. The new company will provide the armed forces with innovative through-life support solutions for their aerospace equipment. Operating in an European frame, in close partnership with users, OEM Defence Services will improve the competitiveness of the support of equipments, thanks to streamlining the entire maintenance supply chain. The company will thus be able to take commitments of availability to users identical to those of the civil aviation services sector. The launch of OEM Defence Services coincides with : the service entry of new aircraft platforms developed under European cooperation programmes - the NH90 and Tiger helicopters and soon the A400M military transport -,  the strict budget limitations faced by the armed forces today. The joint company will be fully operational in a few weeks, once legal formalities are complete.
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Aerospace consultancy AeroStrategy completed a comprehensive forecast of the raw materials used in aviation, spanning the air transport, military, business, and helicopter segments. The materials included both metals and non-metals, and were classified into 10 categories. Key findings of the 20-year forecast include: The total weight of aircraft produced in 2007 is nearly 200 million lbs; the total weight of materials required to produce these aircraft ("buy weight") is 1.0B lbs and will reach 2.2B lbs by 2027; despite encroachment from composites, aerospace aluminum demand will continue to grow over the next decade; overall, the most significant increase is titanium consumption, which will expand from 107M lbs to reach 218.7M lbs by 2017 - Demand of carbon fiber reinforced plastics will grow almost ten-fold by 2027; the material "buy-to-fly ratio" for current production aircraft is approximately five; Boeing and Airbus aircraft account for nearly 60% of total material demand.
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The Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) convened by International Launch Services (ILS) has cleared the Proton Breeze M to return to flight this summer, following its examination of test results and analysis regarding a redesigned engine component. The Russian-built launch vehicle suffered a failure during the March 15 launch of the AMC-14 satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. During that mission, the Breeze M upper stage shut down two minutes before the end of the planned second burn of its engine. As a precaution, the AMC-14 satellite was released into a lower-than-planned orbit. A Russian State Commission investigated the failure, analyzed possible scenarios and reviewed the processes, hardware and systems related to the engine and its supporting systems. Both the Proton booster and the Breeze M upper stage are built by Khrunichev Space Center, which is the primary shareholder of ILS.
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Northrop Grumman has announced that its navigation systems subsidiary, LITEF GmbH, located in Freiburg, Germany has changed its name to Northrop Grumman LITEF GmbH, to enhance its visibility in the international market and strengthen its identity with the global defence and technology company. "Northrop Grumman LITEF is a major contributor to the European market," said Jim Pitts, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems sector. "Having LITEF reflect the Northrop Grumman name further demonstrates our commitment to supplying innovative products to the international market."
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US Air Force officials announced the award of two contracts to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company-Marietta, Ga., for the procurement of six modified KC-130J aircraft, and non-recurring costs associated with modifying the KC-130J. These capabilities are required to meet the unique mission requirements of the Air Combat Command's search and rescue and Air Force Special Operations Command's special operations forces mission areas. These awards begin the recapitalization of the Air Force's aging fleet of CSAR and SOF HC/MC-130 aircraft, which have long been in a state of low supply/high demand and are facing mounting sustainment challenges.
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Goodrich Corporation has received production contracts from Lockheed Martin and General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE) to supply pylons and nacelle systems for the U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy strategic airlifter Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP). Goodrich content is expected to generate $600 million in revenue for the 49 aircraft planned to be upgraded in the RERP, excluding any aftermarket revenue. Work will be performed by Goodrich's Aerostructures teams in Chula Vista and Riverside, Calif. and Foley, Ala. The Lockheed Martin contract calls for Goodrich to supply 36 pylons for nine aircraft in the RERP. Pylons - the structures that attach the propulsion system to the aircraft's wing - are to be delivered in early 2009 through 2011. Follow-on contracts are expected to cover an additional 160 pylons for the remaining 40 aircraft planned in the RERP.
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Deteriorating levels of customer service provided by airline staff -- rather than high fares and additional charges for amenities -- have led to a significant decline in customer satisfaction with airline carriers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North America Airline Satisfaction Study released today. Overall satisfaction for the airline industry has declined in 2008 to its lowest level in three years. The study finds that satisfaction with "people" factors -- including knowledge, courtesy and helpfulness of reservation and gate agents, check-in staff and flight crew -- has declined dramatically since 2007, and is the leading contributing factor to the overall decline in customer satisfaction with airlines in 2008. The decrease in satisfaction with people factors is more than twice as large as the decline in satisfaction with price factors. "Across the airline experience, from check-in, to the flight, to deplaning, passengers are being affected by the ramifications of carriers making staff cutbacks and have expressed that performance and attitudes of airline staff are suffering," said Sam Thanawalla, director of the global hospitality and travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "In this unstable industry environment, it is critical that airlines invest in their employees as a means to enhance the customer experience, as there is a strong connection between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Those airlines that focus on keeping their employees informed and motivated will be better able to change negative consumer sentiment and truly differentiate themselves."
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US Air Force Research Laboratory officials are funding scientists who are researching ways to identify and predict turbulence through the detection of underlying air patterns. Researchers believe the detection of these underlying structures will make it possible to forecast clear-air turbulence. This capability would benefit manned and unmanned military aircraft. The work is equally important for the safety of high-altitude Air Force operations, as well as the stable pointing of onboard laser weapons. Ultimately, this Lagrangian skeleton approach could also be used to locate the source of dispersed chemical or radioactive pollution, thus improving homeland security. Dr. George Haller, professor of mechanical engineering, and MIT graduate student Manikandan Mathur, lead a research team exploring the impact of turbulence on engines, airframes and consequently, air travelers. The two have made a discovery they refer to as the "Lagrangian skeleton of turbulence," since the work of 19th century mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange inspired the team's particle-based approach. The air pattern structure underlying turbulence is a complicated, ever-changing configuration that affects the motion of nearby particles (e.g., pollutants, stratospheric ice crystals). Monitoring the backscattering of onboard lasers enables detection of this particle movement, which serves as a reliable predictor of ensuing turbulence. The MIT scientists used nonlinear, dynamical systems theory to translate the recorded data necessary for uncovering these effects.
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EUROCONTROL recently initiated a first series of flight trials at Arlanda Airport in order to validate the airborne controlled time of arrival (CTA) functionality. On 5 June Scandinavian Airlines flights SK049, SK1013, SK009, SK1045 and SK011 were assigned times to the entry point approximately 25 minutes before reaching the Stockholm terminal area (TMA). The pilots of these flights then relied on onboard functions to ensure that the aircraft arrived at the assigned times with an (initially estimated) accuracy of +/-10 seconds. "The key challenge Europe is facing in the medium and long term is to decrease the time aircraft have to spend in orbital holdings and on extended level segments during arrival," said EUROCONTROL expert Volker Huck. "Cassis can achieve continuous descents with the required time of arrival at TMA entry points, merging points, initial and final approach fixes and even the runway threshold. This reduces fuel burn, emissions and noise without limiting runway throughput." The project, called Cassis - CTA ATM System Integration Studies, is investigating how airborne controlled time of arrival can support future operational concepts for arrival management at airports, bringing efficiencies on the ground and for the airlines.
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The first C-27J for the U.S. Armed Forces has made its maiden flight in Turin-Caselle, at  Alenia Aeronautica's Flight Test Centre. The first US C-27J will be engaged in a test campaign, envisaging about 70 flight hours and 180 ground-test hours, including those carried out in the United States at L3 Communications, in Waco, Texas, for the integration of avionics and systems, specifically requested by the American customer. The delivery of the first aircraft to the U.S. Army is foreseen by September 25, 2008.
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Boeing subsidiary Boeing Australia Limited has sold certification authority for the twin turboprop Nomad aircraft to Australia-based general aviation manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics. The sale includes technical and spares sales support and all intellectual property for the Nomad aircraft worldwide. Financial terms are not being disclosed. "The Nomad has a bright future," said David Withers, president of Boeing Australia Limited. "We're delighted with Gippsland's plan to continue providing outstanding support to existing customers while greatly expanding the market for this remarkably versatile, Australian-designed aircraft." The Hon. Greg Combet MP, the Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, said the government has supported the Nomad program since its beginnings. "Our desire for the Nomad type certificate to remain in Australia has been fully realized through this sale to Gippsland Aeronautics," Combet said.
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As communicated in the SAS Group Strategy plan, Strategy 2011, SAS has been in a process of divesting Spanair. The target for the SAS Group has been to finalize this process before the end of second Quarter 2008. Due to the challenging market conditions in the Spanish aviation market coupled with record oil prices and pressure in the financial sector SAS has not been able to reach its targeted terms and conditions on the divestment. SAS CEO Mats Jansson comments: "The value we could realize does not reflect the underlying value in Spanair. Spanair is a company with a competitive cost position and is the second largest carrier in the large Spanish market. We have done a very thorough evaluation and have concluded that we will abandon the current sales process and continue as a shareholder committed to ensure a profitable Spanair." Spanair will be reported a continued business in the SAS Group accounts.
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Sagem Défense Sécurité (Groupe SAFRAN) will be exhibiting for the first time on its stand at Eurosatory 2008 EUROFLIR, its new high-performance airborne optronics unit. EUROFLIR is a multifunction airborne surveillance system that makes use of the company's best current know-how in sensors, gyrostabilization, platform integration, image processing, chain-of-command insertion, operational maintenance. On its gyrostabilized platform, EUROFLIR can contain up to four sensors: latest generation infrared cameras, television optical channel, laser telemeter and eye safe laser designator, chosen according to operational needs. It provides enhanced performances in terms of identification and range, thanks to an infrared optic zoom with continuous enlargement. Following international bidding, EUROFLIR was selected early 2008 for the overhaul of the French Army's Light Aviation's Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar helicopters. EUROFLIR also meets the domestic security needs of nation-states: threat prevention and protection for civilians, territory and land and maritime entry points.
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OpenSkies, the new premium transatlantic airline from British Airways, launched its first daily passenger flight from Paris Orly Airport (ORY) to New York John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). The inaugural flight makes aviation history: OpenSkies is the first new airline created in response to the groundbreaking Open Skies agreement, which liberalized air travel between the U.S. and Europe. With only 82 passengers aboard a reconfigured Boeing 757, OpenSkies plans to provide a personalized, high-quality travel experience across the Atlantic with superior services including concierge assistance, fully lie-flat beds, a new class of cabin called PREM+ with a 52-inch seat pitch, and no more than 30 passengers in any cabin. Beginning today, OpenSkies will offer one daily round-trip flight between Paris and New York. "We're delivering a dream today. We hope travelers are as inspired by the OpenSkies experience as we were passionate when building this airline," said Dale Moss, Managing Director of OpenSkies. "From the very beginning we listened to travelers' wants, needs and frustrations and are now delivering an airline focused on providing value through better service, more personal attention and greater space for every passenger."
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The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, inspected the Wedgetail integration laboratory at BAE Systems Australia's Edinburgh facility. "The Wedgetail capability is critical to Australia's future Air Combat Capability and will play a key role in achieving our network-enabled war fighting capability," Mr Fitzgibbon said. "The Wedgetail project continues to cause a high degree of concern for me. As the lead customer for the aircraft, we are currently bearing significant risk in bringing this capability into service. Given the cost and importance of the Wedgetail project, it is something the Government is paying very close attention to," Mr Fitzgibbon said. This visit to the facilities allowed Mr Fitzgibbon to view for himself the work that BAE Systems Australia, one of the major subcontractors on the Wedgetail project, is conducting. This included design and development of the Electronic Support Measures and Electronic Warfare Self Protection subsystems, Operational Mission Simulator, Missions Support System and AEW&C (software) Support Facility.
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Over the past two years the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) have fielded the ITO 05 air defence system, developed by Rheinmetall Defence under the product name ASRAD-R. The Advanced Short Range Air Defence system (ASRAD-R) is a modular, independent missile system capable of coping with any modern air threat. It features 3D surveillance search and acquisition radar, including IFF and automatic functions ranging from target detection to missile tracking, a state-of-the-art electro-optical sensor package containing FLIR, a TV camera – both of which use the automatic tracker – and a laser rangefinder. ASRAD-R is armed with four ready-to-fire, line-of-sight laser guided missiles. The Finnish version of the ASRAD-R is mounted on a 10' container which is transported by a Mercedes Unimog 5000. The container was developed in close cooperation with several Finnish companies, as was its integration into the vehicle. The two-man crew of the CMAD (Container-Mounted Air Defence) has access to BMC4I networks using voice and real-time data links via radio, military or civilian telephone or field cable.
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Embraer signed TRIP Linhas Aéreas for the sale of five EMBRAER 175 jets. The deal also includes options for ten more, plus purchase rights for another 15. The total value of the firm orders, at list price, is US$ 167.5 million, and could go over US$ 1 billion, if all of the options and purchase rights are confirmed for the EMBRAER 175. TRIP's EMBRAER 175 jets will be configured in a single class, offering exceptional comfort to 86 passengers. The delivery of the first airplane is expected for 2009.
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EADS still intends to transform its 10% stake in the Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut into shares of the Russian aerospace holding company UAC, considering the Russian aerospace industry as a key partner. EADS is currently selling its shares in Irkut, and is willing to acquire the equivalent amount in UAC as soon as the financial valuation of this company will have been achieved as planned, and the operation will be made technically possible.
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Since 3 June, Eurofighter combat aircraft of Fighter Wing 74 (JG 74) at Neuburg have officially been on constant alert for air policing tasks in the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role. From Thursday, 12 June they have replaced the F-4F Phantom II aircraft deployed up to now, which have been decommissioned at JG 74 with a formal ceremony held at the base. A further important step in the process of bringing the new weapon system Eurofighter into service with the German Air Force has thus been taken, EADS Defence & Security, a partner in the Eurofighter programme, has announced. Since the first Eurofighters landed in Neuburg on 25 July 2006, flight operations at JG 74 have increasingly been transferred to these new fourth-generation combat aircraft. From January 2008, this constant readiness has been successfully put to the test by deploying operational QRA formations.
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that the government of Malaysia has placed a firm order for two Bombardier 415 multipurpose amphibious aircraft (Bombardier 415MP) for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). With this order, the Malaysian government becomes the launch customer in Asia for the specialized Bombardier 415MP aircraft. In addition, the contract includes aircraft integration and training. The multi-purpose Bombardier 415MP can be used in a variety of specialized missions such as search and rescue, environmental protection, coastal patrol and transportation. It is fitted with sophisticated sensors to locate and identify vessels, people in distress and pollutants.
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Airlines in Germany will need over 900 new aircraft (passenger aircraft above 100 seats and freighters) over the next 20 years, according to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF). These additional aircraft will include some 600 short haul, single-aisle aircraft, more than 200 twin-aisle, medium to long-range wide-body aircraft and nearly 100 very large aircraft and freighters. These new aircraft are valued US$ 109 billion at list prices. The main drivers for these investments are the growing demand for air travel and the ambition to operate the most modern and eco-efficient fleets. Out of the existing German aircraft fleet today only 40 will still be in service by 2026. As a result, Germany's aircraft fleet is expected to more than double, growing from over 500 aircraft in operation in 2006 to more than 1,100 by 2026. In terms of new passenger and freighter aircraft deliveries, Germany will rank 5th in the world. Fully in line with the Western European and world's average aviation growth Germany's air travel has grown by 37 per cent from 2000 to 2007. The main drivers were international routes from Germany to the Middle East (+ 138 %), Central Europe (+ 129 %), the CIS (+ 65 %) and Asia (+51 %). Over the next 20 years Western Europe is expected to show average annual growth rates of 4.9 per cent, also in line with the global trend. Routes to the Middle East (+ 7.6 %), the CIS (+ 7,2 %), Latin-America (+6.2 %) and Asia-Pacific (+ 5.9 %) will be the most important levers for growth. Germany's strong and growing demand for air travel is based on its continued economic development, growing tourism, and the emergence of Low Cost Carriers which have grown in terms of scheduled capacity from around a two per cent market share ten years ago to 38 per cent today. Eight airlines (Air Berlin group (incl. LTU), Blue Wings, Condor, Germanwings, Hamburg International, Lufthansa and XL Airways Germany) as well as the German Air Force currently rely on the excellence of Airbus's modern product range, operating 286 modern, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly Airbus aircraft (190 A320 Family aircraft, 21 A300/A310s and 75 A330/A340s). They make up 49 per cent of today's fleet in Germany. 170 aircraft are still in the Airbus backlog for delivery (138 A320 Family aircraft, 17 A330/A340s and 15 A380). Lufthansa is not only Germany's but also the world's biggest Airbus customer by an airline. "Germany is and remains a key market for Airbus, with impressive economic growth figures and strong and constant international and domestic demand." says Laurent Rouaud, Airbus Vice President Market Forecasts and Research. "Definitely the development of long haul and short haul routes will continue to grow, with the A380, the brand new A350 XWB, the successful A330/A340 Family and the best-selling A320 Family responding perfectly to the market needs. Moreover our modern product range is setting the benchmark in eco-efficiency, delivering more value with less environmental impact at lower operational cost."
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A joint U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin team announced that it has successessfully completed on-orbit checkout of the second Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO-2) payload in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) constellation. SBIRS is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace characterization. The SBIRS team is led by the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system. The successful deployment and checkout of the nation's second of a new generation of SBIRS sensors demonstrated that its performance meets or exceeds specifications. Equipped with a sophisticated scanning sensor, the HEO-2 payload joins the first HEO payload, which continues to perform with outstanding results as it is readied to begin on-orbit operations for the user later this year.
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Boeing moved the 787 Dreamliner designated for fatigue testing from the final assembly factory in Everett, Wash., to another production bay at the facility, where assembly work will continue. The move paves the way for the second flight-test airplane to advance to the next position in the production line. The first Dreamliner remains in the nose-to-door position and the third flight-test airplane is in the first position. It will remain there until the fourth flight-test airplane is ready for assembly to begin later this month.
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NASA has selected two science proposals to be the agency's next Explorer Program Mission of Opportunity investigations. One activity will study black holes and other extreme environments in the universe. The other will determine how the Earth's outer atmosphere responds to external forces. The first investigation will provide a U.S. science instrument to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's New exploration X-Ray Telescope, or NeXT. The telescope, currently planned for launch in 2013, will open a new observing window on X-rays and the study of astrophysical phenomena. NASA's proposed funding for the instrument and operations is $44 million. The other investigation will fly an atmospheric remote sensing instrument package aboard a yet-to-be-determined future commercial satellite. The investigation initially will be funded at approximately $250,000 for a concept study to aid in a NASA decision on further development.
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FLUG REVUE 12/2016

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