15.06.2008
FLUG REVUE

2008-06-15 - News in BriefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> The United States government awarded Lockheed Martin an Undefinitized Contract Authorization (UCA) for the production of 24 Advanced F-16 Block 52 aircraft for Morocco, making the Kingdom of Morocco the 25th nation to select the F-16. Morocco will acquire a Block 52 configuration of the F-16C/D aircraft tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF).

The sale will include the aircraft, mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other U.S. and international contractors.  The new aircraft will supplement the RMAF's existing fleet of fighter aircraft and will contribute to the upgrade and modernization of the RMAF. Lockheed Martin is being awarded a contract totaling $233.6 million to begin production of 24 aircraft, along with associated support equipment, alternate mission equipment and other support elements for Morocco.  This effort will support the Foreign Military Sales program for Morocco. The Moroccan announcement adds to the F-16's reputation as the world's most sought-after multi-role fighter. More than 4,400 F-16 aircraft have been delivered to date and production is expected to continue beyond 2012, with major upgrades being incorporated for all F-16 versions.
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Rockwell Collins, through newly-acquired Athena Technologies, has completed a successful flight test of a significantly damaged unmanned F/A-18 subscale model air vehicle. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored the flight demonstrations held this spring at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. During the first flight test, nearly half of the airplane's right wing was ejected to simulate battle damage and in-flight failure. During the second flight, almost 60 percent of the airplane's right wing was ejected. Upon ejecting the wing section during both flights, Rockwell Collins' Automatic Supervisory Adaptive Control (ASAC) technology reacted to the airplane's new vehicle configuration, automatically regained baseline performance, continued to fly the plane, and then autonomously landed it using internal Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) reference only. The flight test campaign followed a similar successful DARPA sponsored demonstration in April 2007, during which an aileron was ejected in-flight from the unmanned subscale F/A-18. "DARPA asked us to significantly increase the level of damage and risk in this latest flight test campaign to really put the Rockwell Collins controls technology through its paces," said Mike Myers, vice president of Business Development for Rockwell Collins Government Systems. "We are pleased with the ability of our adaptive controls to instantly detect and react to the new vehicle configuration after loss of major sections of the wing. The ASAC controls technology enabled the airplane to continue to fly completely autonomously without a hitch and land without further damage."
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A successful test firing of an Ariane 5 solid rocket booster took place at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The test was part of the Ariane 5 Research and Technology Accompaniment (ARTA) Programme. The ARTA Programme, part of ESA's Ariane 5 Development Programme, is responsible for verifying the stability of the qualification status of the Ariane 5 launch system, checking the current production and qualifying required modifications to the launcher design before they enter service. The main goal of this ARTA test was to verify the qualification status of the current solid rocket booster (MPS - Moteur Propergol Solide) production with respect to potential manufacturing process drifts. As subsidiary but equally important objectives, some improvements and new materials to deal with current obsolescence were tested. Additionally, the test allowed the checking of some modifications made to improve the MPS behaviour with respect to critical points, in particular, the reduction of pressure oscillations.
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An agreement on closer cooperation between ESA and Slovenia was signed on 28 May, by René Oosterlinck, ESA Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations, and Mojca Kucler Dolinar, the Slovenian Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. In the ceremony at the Sneznik Castle (east of Ljubljana), the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša, welcomed the ESA delegation and confirmed the support his Government is ready to give to this new agreement. In May 2006, a Slovenian delegation led by Mr Peterle (former Slovenian Prime Minister and currently a Member of the European Parliament) visited ESA's European Space Research & Technology Centre (ESTEC).
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CAE announced that Lockheed Martin has awarded CAE U.K. plc a contract to design and manufacture two Hawk 128 full-mission simulators (FMSs) and related training support services as part of the U.K.'s Military Flying Training System (MFTS) program. The contract is valued at more than C$24 million (£11.8 million). Contract options for maintenance and support services could bring the total value to more than C$48 million (£24 million). The U.K. MFTS program is a private finance initiative (PFI) led by Ascent, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and VT Group. Ascent will provide comprehensive training to all new U.K. military aircrew across the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force (RAF). Under terms of the contract, CAE will develop two Hawk 128 FMSs as part of the new Hawk 128 ground-based training system. The Hawk 128, manufactured by BAE Systems, was selected as the U.K.'s new advance jet trainer aircraft. The two Hawk 128 FMSs will be delivered in the summer of 2010 to Ascent's training centre at RAF Valley. The CAE-built Hawk 128 FMSs will feature a high-fidelity replica of the Hawk 128 cockpit with CAE's Medallion-6000 image generator producing the visuals displayed on an 11-foot frontprojection dome display. The Hawk 128 FMSs will also feature the CAE-developed common database (CDB), a new and open standard database architecture that is both rapidly updateable and enables correlated distributed mission training. Following delivery of the Hawk 128 FMSs, Ascent has the option to contract CAE to provide on-site maintenance and support services.
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Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for National Research Council Canada (NRC), on behalf of Minister Prentice, today announced that NRC has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) to cooperate on aerospace research and technology development (R&TD). This agreement marks a new level of commitment in a long-standing relationship. "This MOU broadens NRC's research and technology development relationship with a world-leading aerospace and defence company," said Dr. Carrie. "This relationship will, in turn, strengthen the aerospace innovation system, and benefit Canada's aerospace industry in Canada. The results of this collaboration will support the commitments made in Budget 2008 and in the federal Science and Technology Strategy to secure Canada's leadership in the global marketplace through research and innovation." The agreement builds on 20 years of research collaboration between NRC and EADS, which includes current projects involving Airbus and EADS Innovation Works. This MOU will allow NRC to begin collaborative work with other EADS business units, such as Eurocopter and EADS's Military Transport Aircraft Division.
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NASA and Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, unveiled Monday a new vertical test stand that will be used later this summer to support NASA's Constellation Program. The stand will be used to test fire the full-scale abort motor for the launch abort system, which will sit atop the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The abort motor is designed to pull the crew module away from the Ares I launch vehicle in an emergency situation on the launch pad or during the first 300,000 feet after launch. A full scale inert motor, without oxidizer in the propellant, is now secured top end down in the test stand with its nozzles pointing skyward at ATK's facility in Promontory, Utah. Engineers will spend the next few months performing a final checkout.
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In a ceremony held at PZL-Swidnik's facility in Poland last week the 200th AW139 airframe to be manufactured by PZL-Swidnik was accepted by AgustaWestland. Bruno Spagnolini, Managing Director – Operations said in a statement "We are delighted with PZL-Swidnik's major contribution to the AW139 programme and that PZL-Swidnik and its employees are benefiting from the sales success the AW139 is having worldwide. Our long running successful and expanding cooperation will continue to grow as the sales of our helicopters continue to increase around the world." Since PZL-Swidnik and AgustaWestland started cooperation in 1996 PZL-Swidnik has manufactured nearly 800 airframes for AgustaWestland. PZL-Swidnik currently manufactures and assembles AW119 Ke, AW109 Power, AW109 LUH, Grand and AW139 airframes, sustaining nearly 1000 skilled staff at its Swidnik plant near Lublin. At current production rates of 15 airframes per month it is expected that PZL-Swidnik will deliver the 1000th airframe to AgustaWestland in the second half of 2009.
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Air travelers will be able to experience Emirates Airline's state-of-the-art A380 for the first time on August 1st, when the airline launches its first A380 commercial service from Dubai to New York JFK. The 14-hour non-stop flight will also be the first-ever commercial A380 service to the United States. HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said: "The United States represent a key focus area in Emirates' route development plans, and we are delighted to be the first airline to launch commercial A380 services to the continent. We are confident that Emirates' customers traveling to and from North America will welcome the A380's additional space and capacity, as well as our luxurious onboard amenities which will provide a very high quality travel experience previously associated only with private jets." Emirates recently announced that it will start daily non-stop service from Los Angeles to Dubai on September 1st and from San Francisco to Dubai on October 26th. In addition to the twice-daily service from JFK, the airline has daily non-stop service from Houston to Dubai.
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The Houston Police Department is expanding its airborne law enforcement operation to enable two aircraft to be in the sky up to 21 hours per day. Recognition of the benefits of helicopter patrol by Senior Police Management and the versatility of MD 500E were key in the decision.  With over 700 square miles to cover, helicopter patrol coverage is essential and the city of Houston was one of the first to establish a helicopter aerial patrol program dating back to 1970. To meet the new police coverage requirement, the Helicopter Patrol Unit will increase its fleet size to 13 MD 500E helicopters.  Currently, the Houston Helicopter patrol Unit flies in excess of 6000 flight hours per year in support of law enforcement and homeland security missions and has accumulated more than 170,000 hours of flight time on MD500 series aircraft.  The speed, agility, payload and proven low operating cost make it the aircraft of choice for the law enforcement mission.  The plan is to have all the new aircraft in service by June 30, 2009.
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JSC "United Aircraft Corporation" registered LLC "Managing Company "UAC - Civil Aircraft", a subsidiary structure to be responsible for project management and civil aircraft deliveries. Creation of a 100-percent affiliated company will allow to organize a single point of responsibility for development, production, sales and after-sale maintenance of civil aircraft on the Russian market. UAC's manufacturing program and a considerable increase in civil aircraft production volumes requires production capacities consolidation, concentration of key resources and competences, acceleration of technical reequipping programs at production sites as well as changing the existing production cooperation model. Furthermore, it is necessary to organize a new civil aircraft sales and after-sale maintenance system, aimed at identifying and meeting the customers' needs. According to the decision of the UAC's Board of Directors, Alexey I. Fedorov, UAC President and Chairman of Executive Board will hold the position of Director General of the LLC "Managing Company "UAC - Civil Aircraft" during the initial stage of the company's development. This fact emphasizes the significance of the tasks set before the company and will improve coordination of work between JSC "UAC" and LLC "Managing Company "UAC - Civil Aircraft". By creating the Managing Company "UAC - Civil Aircraft", JSC "UAC" strengthens direct operational control to substantially increase civil aircraft production as provided by "The Main provisions of the Development Strategy of the Open Joint Stock Corporation "United Aircraft Corporation" for a Period up to 2025" and plans for civil aircraft production for the period of 2008-2012, approved by the federal authorities.
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EADS Defence & Security (DS) will carry out the modernization programme of four Harrier AV-8B "Day Attack" aircraft of the Spanish Navy. The contract, with a value of 11,5 million Euros, has been signed with Navair, the U.S. governmental authority acting on behalf of the Spanish Navy. The contract will be executed throughout the next three years, until 2011. The new aircraft configuration upgrades the current Harrier AV-8B to a version very similar to the one already integrated into the Harrier II PLUS fleet operated by the Spanish Navy. Military Air Systems (MAS), an integrated business unit of EADS Defence & Security, will be responsible of implementing the modification, testing the upgrade, and supporting the reintroduction into service of the aircraft, including the certification process. The modernization programme includes the installation of new Rolls Royce Pegasus 408A engines, advanced avionics, and structural and component modifications. It also foresees the incorporation of technical orders and the revision of the third level of Scheduled Depot Level Maintenance. The avionics enhancement includes a Night Vision Goggle (NVG)-compatible cockpit controls and displays, an external NVG lighting, a wide-field-of-view Head-Up Display, the installation of a new communications system ARC-210 Havequick, Automatic Target Handoff System (ATHS) and an advanced Global Positioning System (GPS)/ navigation system MINITACAN. The comprehensive upgrade further incorporates a Digital Video Mapping System as well as new computers and the integration of new screens into the cockpit. Moreover, the improved aircraft will have increased armament and electronic warfare capabilities.
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Typhoon, the RAF's newest fighter aircraft, has passed its latest major hurdle on the way to becoming a fully fledged multi-role combat aircraft, with flying colours. While taking part in Green Flag, a major exercise held at Nellis United States Air Force (USAF) Base in Nevada, seven Typhoons from XI Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, dropped munitions and fired their cannons with such precision that they have been declared combat ready by the target date of 1 July 2008. A delighted Group Captain Stuart Atha, Station Commander of RAF Coningsby said: "What we have in Typhoon is a world-beating aircraft. The Mantra in the Royal air Force is 'agile, adaptable and capable'. That is precisely what this aircraft is.
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Boeing announced it has finalized the agreement to acquire Vought Aircraft Industries' interest in Global Aeronautica, LLC, a South Carolina fuselage sub-assembly facility for Boeing's newest airplane, the 787 Dreamliner. With the completion of this transaction, Global Aeronautica is now a 50-50 joint venture between The Boeing Company and Alenia North America, a subsidiary of Italy's Alenia Aeronautica -- a Finmeccanica company. Vought continues to produce the aft fuselage for the 787 at its facility adjacent to Global Aeronautica in North Charleston.
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Aviation expert Darryl Jenkins issued the following statement: In observing the airline industry for many years, I've seen plenty I'd rather forget, ranging from 9-11 to SARS and other extreme shocks to the system. In all cases, the prevailing notion was that it was passing and would return to normal later. The meteoric ascent of fuel prices does not appear to be one of these short-term "we'll simply deal with it" scenarios. In fact, of all the bad happenings that could have reshaped the industry over the past 10 years, but didn't, this is the one that finally will. Since December 2007, eight U.S. airlines have gone out of business and another is operating in bankruptcy. According to the Air Transport Association, U.S. airlines are projected to spend $61 billion on fuel this year, $20 billion more than in 2007. That's equivalent to the compensation and benefits of 267,000 airline workers or the acquisition of 286 new jets! What's more is that the $20 billion increase is also nearly four times more than the industry has ever earned in a single year; the best year for profits at U.S. passenger and cargo airlines was 1999, with net earnings of $5.3 billion. Clearly, if airlines are unable to cover their expenses, more airlines will go into bankruptcy, and possibly go out of business, with devastating impact on jobs and the economy. That is what's at stake. Last year, most airlines were able to cover only 40 percent of the increase in fuel costs through surcharges. But we're now in a slow economy - with some experts already calling it a full-blown recession. Typically, when the economy slows, so does demand for oil. Not so now with demand from China and India stronger than ever. The record prices for fuel and a slow economy create a double whammy on airlines. It should be no surprise airlines are reeling, losing millions of dollars a day, and desperately looking for new ways to cover costs. It is time for fundamental change in the way the industry flies. It's also time for passengers to radically adjust their thinking on what flying really costs. American (AMR), Continental (CAL) and United (UAUA) recently announced they will dramatically draw down service, a much-needed step to reduce costs and increase pricing power. However, reduced capacity on its own simply will not cut it. Increased fares, fuel surcharges and the painful but inevitable unbundling of products and services are needed if our air transport system is to survive. Several airlines have begun this process with various fees, including most recently American Airlines taking a bold step by implementing a fee for a checked first bag on some discount domestic tickets. In doing so, they are following in the footsteps of the banking and telecom industries that years ago had the courage to successfully unbundle and charge for products and services. If our airline industry is to survive, it must find the courage to transform now and impose higher fares and fees that directly match revenue with direct operating costs.
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Raytheon achieved a significant production milestone with the delivery of the 1,000th Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile to the U.S. Navy. "Tomahawk Block IV provides the Navy with an array of enhanced capabilities to support land-based operations in the global war on terror and across the spectrum of warfare," said Capt. Rick McQueen, the U.S. Navy's program manager for the Tomahawk weapon system. "The Navy's receipt of this 1,000thTomahawk Block IV builds on a legacy of providing the commander with a powerful weapon to shape the battlespace."
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Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, has signed a firm contract for the purchase of six A320s, as part of its expansion programme on domestic and medium-haul routes. The contract, which is the airline's first with Airbus, confirms the Memorandum of Understanding which was announced in December 2007. Air Astana's A320s will feature the brand-new cabin recently introduced on all members of the A320 Family, which provides more comfort and space for passengers in a modern and quiet environment. The aircraft on order will accommodate up to 148 passengers in a two-class cabin layout. The choice of engines has not yet been made. The aircraft will join Air Astana's existing fleet which already includes some A320 Family aircraft, which are currently being operated on its domestic and international network.
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Sikorsky Aircraft delivered the 30 th UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter to the U.S. Army for the 4-101 Assault Battalion, making it the First Unit Equipped (FUE) with the aircraft. The new aircraft provide the Army with many enhancements critical to supporting its missions.  These enhancements include a new fully digitized cockpit with four multi-function displays, a four-axis fully coupled flight director, digital map, dual embedded global positioning/inertial navigation system, and an integrated vehicle health management system (IVHMS).  The model also features wide chord composite blades and an increased shaft horsepower performance engine. 
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BAE Systems has unveiled the latest member of its UAS (Unmanned Autonomous System) family. Sharing a similar airframe and some vehicle system components with the HERTI reconnaissance and surveillance UAS, Fury is an armed reconnaissance and close air support UAS which features latest generation mission systems avionics, a newly developed stores management system and a proven weapon guidance system. Unveiled to coincide with the start of a major autonomous systems exhibition in San Diego, Fury is the product of a distinct military development programme.  It has been developed and trialled in partnership with Thales UK's missile business in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  This latest member of the BAE Systems' UAS family is armed with the new Thales Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM) system, selected for Fury due to its suitability for lightweight manoeuvrable platforms, and for its ability to fire on the move while delivering significant precision effects.  LMM is small in size and builds on the heritage of combat proven munitions such as Starstreak and Starburst.
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CFM and easyJet set a new milestone in the green growth of air transport today with the delivery of the airline's first CFM56 Tech Insertion. These engines will help reduce NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides) emissions by 25% and bring considerable progress in terms of CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and maintenance costs. The new CFM56-5B Tech Insertion engines, which are the product of CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (SAFRAN Group) and General Electric Company, are being introduced onto the easyJet fleet of Airbus A319 aircraft and will reinforce easyJet's position as one of the most environmentally-aware airlines in the industry.
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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced that two Sky Warrior Block 0 UAS are now operational in Iraq, supporting U.S. Army ground forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The first mission for WY-201 occurred on April 18 and lasted 10.5 hours. A second Sky Warrior UAS, WY-202, was deployed at the end of April. "The deployment of Sky Warrior Block 0 aircraft more than a year in advance of SDD [Systems Development and Demonstration] deployment requirements for the Army's ER/MP [Extended Range/Multi-Purpose] UAS Program is a testament to the creative solutions that can be achieved with increased cooperation between government and industry," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. "Sky Warrior is designed to be the Army's most sophisticated and capable UAS. We are confident that this early fielding will not only showcase the maturity of the technology being incorporated into this new aircraft line, but also its ability to be a true force multiplier to soldiers in the field." Sky Warrior Block 0 is a quick reaction program designed to meet the Army's urgent operational needs in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and offers significant risk reduction for the Sky Warrior Block 1 UAS developed for the ER/MP program. As a precursor to the Block 1 aircraft, Block 0 features the same advanced airframe design, diesel engine, and highly redundant avionics as Block 1. Fielding of the Block 0 variant will support the development phase of SDD, with operational data collected in combat expected to help facilitate the ER/MP Milestone C decision (re: Limited Rate Initial Production) scheduled to be made this summer.
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Enstrom Helicopter is excited to announce that they've recently completed the training of a delegation of pilots and mechanics from the Peruvian Navy.  Enstrom signed a contract to provide the Peruvian Navy with six F28F piston training helicopters in January of 2008.  The first two aircraft were completed in time for the training, and will ship shortly.  Three of the aircraft will be shipped with auxiliary fuel tanks, cargo hooks, and floats, while the other three will be provisioned to accept those accessories for quick swaps and flexibility.  The helicopters will be used primarily for flight training, but will see other roles, such as search, surveillance and cargo hauling. 
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Kaman Corp. announced that its subsidiary, Kaman Aerospace Group has acquired Brookhouse Holdings, Limited, a leader in the design and manufacture of composite aerostructures, aerospace tooling, and repair and overhaul services based in Darwen, Lancashire, England.  The purchase price was 43 million pounds sterling ($85.1 million based on an exchange rate of 1.98) in cash, and was funded by borrowings through Kaman's revolving credit agreement.  The Company expects the acquisition to be neutral to its earnings per share in 2008 and slightly accretive in 2009.
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Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport has invested in a state of the art radar system to further improve safety by continuously sweeping its runways for foreign objects and debris (FOD). Supplied by QinetiQ, the Tarsier system is already being used to detect FOD on the southern runway at Heathrow following a successful operational trial. Two radars scan the 3,658 metre runway area 24 hours a day, locating objects that could be drawn into engines or damage aircraft systems. The contract also includes a further enhancement of the Tarsier system through the use of high specification day/night cameras that will allow the remote visual confirmation of detected debris. "Safety is our top priority" commented Colin Wood, Airside Operations Director, Heathrow. "Tarsier is a proven technological solution to the problem of FOD and will assist our operations team in carrying out regular visual runway inspections by acting as an additional pair of eyes." He added: "Tarsier also has the additional benefit of enabling Heathrow to deliver an improved service to the 68 million passengers who use the airport each year, by minimising delays caused by FOD."
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NASA has awarded a contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston, for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system. The spacesuit will protect astronauts during Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and, by 2020, the surface of the moon. The subcontractors to Oceaneering are Air-Lock Inc. of Milford, Conn., David Clark Co. of Worcester, Mass., Cimarron Software Services Inc. of Houston, Harris Corporation of Palm Bay, Fla., Honeywell International Inc. of Glendale, Ariz., Paragon Space Development Corp. of Tucson, Ariz., and United Space Alliance of Houston."The award of the spacesuit contract completes the spaceflight hardware requirements for the Constellation Program's first human flight in 2015," said Jeff Hanley, Constellation program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Contracts for the Orion crew capsule and the Ares I rocket were awarded during the past two years.
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Data Link Solutions (DLS), a joint venture of Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems, has been selected to provide two types of Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) to U.S. and coalition forces. A contract, valued at $18.7 million, was awarded by the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). Under the contract, DLS will provide the MIDS LVT-2/11 and MIDS LVT-1 terminals. The MIDS LVT-2/11 is specifically designed for U.S. Army Patriot Information Coordination Central (ICC) and Battery Command Posts, Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control Units (FAAD C2) and surface launched missiles, along with U.S. Air Force Air Operations Centers and Joint Interface Control Officer Support Systems. Future upgrades for the LVT-2/11 terminal include enhanced throughput, frequency remapping and crypto modernization.
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NASA has signed a $16.8 million contract modification to space shuttle main engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. of Canoga Park, Calif., to incorporate an employee retention plan implemented by the company. Incentives are being provided to eligible personnel to ensure mission success and construction of the remaining engines to support space shuttle requirements through September 2010. Retention of the knowledgeable and skilled space shuttle main engine workforce is necessary to produce the remaining shuttle hardware. This contract modification supports the agency's priorities of safely flying and retiring the space shuttles.The contract will end Sept. 30, 2010. This modification brings the total value of the contract, awarded in January 2002, to $2.181 billion.
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After more than 17 years of pioneering solar science, a joint NASA and European Space Agency mission to study the sun will end on or about July 1. The Ulysses spacecraft has endured for almost four times its expected lifespan. However, the spacecraft will cease operations because of a decline in power produced by its onboard generators. Ulysses forever has changed the way scientists view the sun and its effect on the surrounding space. Mission results and the science legacy it leaves behind were reviewed today at ESA Headquarters in Paris. "The main objective of Ulysses was to study, from every angle, the heliosphere, which is the vast bubble in space carved out by the solar wind," said Ed Smith, Ulysses project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Over its long life, Ulysses redefined our knowledge of the heliosphere and went on to answer questions about our solar neighborhood we did not know to ask."
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At current oil prices, several large and small U.S. airlines will default on their obligations to creditors beginning at the end of 2008 and early 2009, according to a study issued by AirlineForecasts, LLC and the Business Travel Coalition. The study shows that $130/barrel oil prices will increase yearly airline costs by $30 billion, while airlines will be able to generate only $4 billion in fare increases and incremental fees. The implication of this alarming trend is that several large and small airlines will ultimately end up in bankruptcy, and of those, some will be forced to liquidate. "If oil prices stay anywhere near $130/barrel, all major legacy airlines will be in default on various debt covenants by the end of 2008 or early 2009," the study conducted by AirlineForecasts for BTC states. "U.S. commercial aviation is in full blown crisis and heading toward a catastrophe." "Airlines are the primary source of inter-city transportation, critical to national and local economic development, the flow of human capital, movement of just-in-time parts for manufacturing, perishable food and other goods critical to our economy," the study says. "With airlines gravely threatened, so is our economic well-being."
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Bombardier announced the delivery into service of the 100th manufactured Learjet 40 XR light business jet to Northern Jet Management, an aircraft management and shared ownership company headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI. A special delivery ceremony was held on May 30 at Bombardier's Learjet assembly facility in Wichita to highlight the program milestone.
The new Learjet 40 XR joins The Company Jet fleet, Northern Jet's shared ownership program, which currently features three Learjet 40 XR and one Learjet 45 XR aircraft. The Company Jet's fleet is based at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.
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AgustaWestland and Kanematsu Corporation are pleased to announce they have been awarded a contract by the Japan National Police Agency (JNPA) to supply a further five AW109 Power Law Enforcement Helicopters as part of an on-going program to modernise the Police helicopter fleet.  The 2008 order represents selection of the AW109 Power for the fourth consecutive year and demonstrates the Police's satisfaction with the aircraft, the cost effectiveness of the aircraft and their confidence in Kanematsu's product support infrastructure in Japan. This order will bring the total number of AW109 helicopters in service with the JNPA to twenty-one and continues AgustaWestland's growing share of the Japanese light twin engine market. AgustaWestland expects this growth to continue over the coming years.
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The second roll-on and roll-off (RoRo) sea vessel designed to transport sections of the A380 between manufacturing countries has been officially named City of Hamburg at a ceremony in Singapore. The event took place at the shipyard of Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine) and was presided over by Mme Valérie Pécresse, French Minister for Higher Education and Research. Scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of this year, the City of Hamburg will join the existing vessel Ville De Bordeaux, delivering complete A380 wings and fuselage sections from France, Northern Germany, Spain and the UK to the French city port of Bordeaux. From there, the sections are transported by river barge and road to the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse. A third RoRo vessel is also currently under construction at the ST Marine shipyard in Singapore and will join the fleet in early 2009. All three vessels are owned and operated by a joint venture between shipping groups Louis Dreyfus Armateurs of France and Leif Hoegh of Norway.
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