12.10.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 12 October 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry

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As aviation stakeholders around the world accelerate the deployment of environmentally friendly Performance-based Navigation (PBN), they'll need to work together with communities around airports to deploy new flight paths that work best for everyone. On Friday, more than 200 aviation stakeholders at the Naverus Performance-based Navigation Summit in Seattle, heard that PBN technology is being adopted rapidly around the world and that it has profound implications for the way air traffic is managed. "This is a unique time," said Dan Elwell, vice president of civil aviation for the Aerospace Industries Association. Elwell advised aircraft operators and air traffic managers to engage communities early on in discussions as they design new PBN flight paths. During the course of the Summit, attendees heard how advanced PBN provides new flexibility to design quieter, cleaner, more fuel efficient flight paths.  As part of implementing those paths, important decisions must be made about how to route traffic in ways that balance noise reduction, emissions savings and fuel efficiency.
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A credit crisis and the resulting slowdown in the world economy has exacerbated the turbine engine industry�fs normal downcycle. The exuberance of the three-year period prior to the fourth quarter of 2008 saw annual aircraft sales growing at an unsustainable pace, eclipsing that of the previous year, three years running. With signs of economic recovery only recently on the horizon, Forecast International expects the turbine engine market to remain essentially stagnant through 2012, and then rebound in 2013. In total, the world turbofan engine market is projected to generate $292 billion in revenue during the 2009-2018 period through the production of 66,273 engines. The good news for large engine manufacturers is that even with deferrals and cancellations, Airbus and Boeing each have an order backlog of several thousand aircraft, which translates into years of engine production for all of the big turbofan builders. Pratt & Whitney and CFM International are working on new engine designs for the next generation of narrowbody aircraft, and will have their new technology ready when the airframers begin work on the new jets. General Electric and Rolls-Royce are equally busy with the GEnx and Trent product lines for new and future applications. The business aircraft segment has been hit with a double whammy between the credit freeze and the negative publicity of executive use of company business jets. The credit issue will work itself out over time, but the public's negative perception of private jets has caused many orders to be deferred or canceled outright. Several business aircraft programs, both in-production and developmental, have fallen victim to the tough economic climate. In spite of this, the industry is developing new aircraft designs in anticipation of the market's reversal. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell and Williams are all involved in engine development programs to power these new jets.
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The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $153 million contract to provide LITENING G4 targeting and sensor systems and related equipment. Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop Grumman will deliver LITENING G4 targeting and sensor pods to the active U.S. Air Force as well as kits for the Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard to enable the upgrade of existing LITENING AT pods to the G4 configuration. The contract also includes the supply of additional data links for the Air National Guard and active U.S. Air Force. LITENING Gen 4 is a self-contained, multi-sensor laser target-designating, surveillance and navigation system. The pods are also equipped with "plug-and-play" technology that enables them to accept a variety of data links without further modifications to the pod or aircraft.
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Stork Fokker has signed an important contract in relation to the Ariane 5 program. Dutch Space (part of the European EADS Astrium consortium) has again selected the company to produce engine frames for at least 35 Ariane 5 launchers. The contract represents a turnover value of at least 30 million euro, spread over the period from 2009 to 2014. This order brings the total number of engine frames to be produced to 70, because Stork Fokker also produces the frames for the first and second stages of the rocket. Around 50 Stork Fokker employees are involved in this aerospace project. The contract between Dutch Space and Stork Fokker was officially signed in the Werkspoor Museum in Amsterdam on 30 September. An engine frame is the structure on which the rocket engine and all the associated equipment is mounted, and which transmits the engine's thrust to the rest of the launch vehicle. The structure is subject to severe structural, thermal and acoustic loads, but must still be made as light as possible. It is a complex conical structure made of high-grade aluminium. The engine frame for the first stage has a diameter of 5.5 meters and a height of 3.5 meters, and weighs more than 1,500 kg. Each frame consists of some 2000 components which are assembled at Stork Fokker in Hoogeveen.
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The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has awarded a team that includes MTU Maintenance a nine-year contract to provide Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for its fleet of KC-10 Extender refueling tanker aircraft. MTU will provide engine depot maintenance, engineering, field service support and engine condition monitoring for the fleet of 204 CF6-50C2 engines flown by the USAF. Over the life of the agreement, MTU expects the deal to generate sales in the amount of more than 300 million euros ($500 million). MTU will primarily perform the work in support of prime contractor Northrop Grumman at its Canadian facility in Richmond, BC. Weingartner: �gThis contract is a strong message of support for the expertise and quality of work of MTU Maintenance Canada. It represents an excellent opportunity to illustrate to the USAF that MTU Maintenance is an industry leader in supporting airlines, military and governmental  operations�h.
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Boeing announced it is joining with Honeywell's UOP to commission a study on the sustainability of a leading family of saltwater-based plant candidates for renewable jet fuel. The study is being commissioned as part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (www.safug.org) consortium. The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi will lead the study, which will examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of biofuels made from salicornia bigelovii and saltwater mangroves - plants known as halophytes. Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and UOP will also participate in the analysis, which will include an assessment of the total carbon lifecycle of biofuels. Halophytes can be highly productive sources of biomass energy, thrive in arid land and can be irrigated with sea water, making them suitable for biofuel development and Abu Dhabi a viable location for conducting a lifecycle-analysis study. With improved plant science and agronomy, early testing results indicate that halophytes have the potential to deliver very high yields per unit of land. "Boeing and the scientific and academic communities are stepping forward to look at the totality of each renewable fuel source that can help us reduce carbon emissions," said Billy Glover, managing director of Environmental Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "By working with Masdar Institute to look at these species in a formal research framework, we will better know if certain types of halophytes meet the carbon reduction and socioeconomic criteria that will allow them to become part of a portfolio of sustainable biofuel solutions for aviation."
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During the official visit of the French President to Kazakhstan, EADS and Eurocopter signed a cooperation agreement with the sovereign wealth fund SAMRUK-KAZYNA to create a public-private joint venture in Kazakhstan in order to develop helicopter activities. The project, which includes both European and Kazakh partners, was launched as part of the strategic partnership agreement signed between France and Kazakhstan. The purpose of the joint venture is to transfer skills and know-how to local partners in order to develop a fully integrated and independent helicopter service industry in Kazakhstan. The new agreement demonstrates Eurocopter's long-term commitment to the Kazakh government and its people, and also reflects the strategic position of the country in Central Asia and its potential for economic growth. Nearly every product in the Eurocopter range is already present in Kazakhstan in the public and private sectors and in the oil & gas industry. An agreement was also signed with a local operator to open the first maintenance center in Kazakhstan.
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MBDA Incorporated announced the successful demonstration of a Semi-Active Laser Guided Zuni rocket against a moving target at the Navy�fs test facilities at China Lake, CA. This firing comes after a successful shot against a static target in May of this year. The WGU-58/B Guidance and Control System developed in cooperation with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) provides the Zuni weapon precision accuracy. Jim Pennock, Vice President of Guided Rocket Sector Business Development at MBDA Incorporated said �gThe WGU-58/B Guidance and Control system gives fixed wing aviators the ability to rapidly and accurately engage a moving target in close proximity to friendly forces. We are confident in the system�fs ability to precisely engage moving targets and we demonstrated it today.�h
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Raytheon and Boeing completed a series of captive carry flight tests of a form-factored tri-mode seeker for the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile competition. "The test series demonstrated that Raytheon's form-factored tri-mode seeker and guidance electronics units are ready to enter prototype missile builds in preparation for guided missile firings early next year," said Bob Francois, Raytheon's vice president of Advanced Missiles and Unmanned Systems. "The Raytheon-Boeing JAGM system will give warfighters a capability they have asked for and do not have. JAGM is an affordable, all-weather weapon capable of defeating a variety of targets from fixed- and rotary-wing platforms." JAGM will reduce the U.S. military's logistics footprint by replacing three legacy missiles currently in the U.S. Army's, Navy's and Marine Corps' inventories.
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will be upgrading its in-flight entertainment (IFE) offerings with the addition of the Rockwell Collins  moving map and in-flight information system on its new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft. The upgrades will occur between 2009 and 2011.Rockwell Collins' Airshow 4200 displays real-time flight information and moving maps in a rich multimedia format allowing passengers to be kept informed and connected en route to their next destination.
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AgustaWestland announced the award of the Apache Integrated Operational Support (IOS) contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to meet the Apache Attack Helicopter Future Support Arrangements (FSA) requirement. The contract valued at �’439 million (?480 million), for the initial period to March 2014, was announced today by the Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies MP during a visit to Wattisham Airfield, the British Army�fs main Apache AH Mk.1operating base.. The Apache IOS contract will deliver greater aircraft availability whilst reducing through life costs by more than �’50 million in the initial period and builds on the success of similar IOS availability based contracts for the UK MoD�fs AW101 Merlin and Sea King helicopter fleets. The contract is output-based, whereby AgustaWestland is incentivised to improve the levels of operational output whilst seeking continuous improvement to reduce through life costs.
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Aircell announced its new ATG 5000 High Speed Internet unit for the business aviation market. The system delivers high speed Internet service via the Aircell Network in an affordable and lightweight package. It was specifically designed for aircraft operators that don�ft require the comprehensive capabilities of the Aircell Axxess cabin system. The ATG 5000 joins Aircell�fs diverse, global family of high speed data products. Aircell High Speed Internet is the only solution in business aviation that provides a true high speed Internet experience that equals what passengers are accustomed to on the ground, while being small and light enough to fit on virtually any business aircraft. It is up to 56 times faster than a traditional dial-up connection.
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TAM has signed an agreement with Austrian Airlines, member of Star Alliance, to allow members of the TAM Fidelidade program to accumulate and redeem points in flights operated by the Austrian company. Passengers from Austrian Airlines who use the Miles & More program have enjoyed those benefits on TAM operated flights since February 2008. The new partnership went into effect October 1.
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The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon a $13 million contract to develop additional sensor prototypes for the Advanced Distributed Aperture System, which gives helicopter pilots 360-degree situational awareness. The award is the first extension of the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration contract, initially funded in September 2008. The Army launched the ADAS program to assist pilots flying at low levels. The original system provides up to six infrared sensors and a combined helmet display showing a full view of the cockpit and other parts of the helicopter, including the engines and tail rotor. Additional capabilities to be provided by Raytheon include an indicator of hostile fire, landing-assist symbols that appear on the helmet display for operation in low visibility, and infrared search-and-track and three-dimensional audio systems.
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Lockheed Martin recently received a $133 million award to provide the U.S. Army with eight additional Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS) to support coalition forces. A tethered aerostat-based system in use by the Army since 2004, PTDS is equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications in support of coalition forces.  Nine systems are currently deployed, and the additional eight will be provided over the next 11 months. �gPTDS is providing our troops in the field with real-time surveillance and valuable intelligence information,�h said Stephanie Hill, vice president of Lockheed Martin�fs Integrated Defense Technologies business. �gThese affordable and reliable systems demonstrate the increasing importance of rapidly deployable lighter-than-air platforms to today's warfighters."
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EASA has certified the all-weather multi-role Ka-32A11BC helicopter for operation in EU countries. EASA is the civil aviation safety watchdog for the EU. It has issued type certificate EASA.IM.R.133 for the Ka-32A11BC that will allow any EU operator to commercially fly the Russian helicopter. The Ka-32A11BC is designed by Kamov, a company integrated into the Russian helicopter industry holding managed by Russian Helicopters, and is built by the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, also part of the holding. The helicopter boasts trademark Kamov coaxial rotors and is fit for a variety of tasks including transportation of people and loads, high-rise construction, patrolling, and search & rescue operations.
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Boeing and Russian aerospace company RSC-Energia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Moscow on Oct. 2 to work together on a future common docking system for advanced space exploration vehicles. The two companies will complement each other's extensive knowledge in International Space Station (ISS) design, assembly and operation to produce an international standard for docking mechanisms. "Future space exploration will provide opportunities for more international collaboration," said former astronaut Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Space Exploration division. "As the commercial space market matures, there will be a need for an international standard for docking on orbit. The Boeing Company and Energia will draw on proven experience to provide an innovative docking solution for future space exploration." The agreement outlines collaboration between the two companies to produce a mechanism based on Energia's existing Androgynous Peripheral Docking System (APDS). Designed and built by Energia in Russia, APDS is a proven system that has connected every space shuttle mission to the ISS for more than a decade.
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Boeing delivered a third C-17 Globemaster III to the NATO Airlift Management Organization (NAMO) in support of NAMO's 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) initiative. The delivery, which took place at Boeing's final assembly facility in Long Beach, completes SAC's first fleet of the advanced airlifters. Assigned to SAC's Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at P?pa Air Base in western Hungary, SAC 03 will support International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan as well as the airlift requirements of SAC member nations.
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The GE38 turboshaft engine recently exceeded required power for the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter that Sikorsky Aircraft is developing for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), reaching 7,300 shaft-horsepower and establishing a shaft-horsepower record for the GE-Lynn facility. "The GE38 continues to meet or exceed customer expectations as the first engine to test (FETT) reaches the midpoint of its test cycle," said Harry Nahatis, GE38 program manager. "In addition to reaching the significant shaft-horsepower milestone, the control system has operated well, and vibrations have stayed within predicted limits." The GE38 FETT, which is scheduled to complete testing this year, has accumulated data on more than 600 parameters, including pressures, temperature and vibrations. Testing following the FETT phase will focus on engine durability, altitude performance and environmental compatibility.
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ATR and Libya's flag carrier Libyan Airlines signed a contract for the purchase of 2 ATR 42-500s, which will become the first ATR aircraft to be operated in the country. The deal, valued at some US $ 35 million, has been inked on the occasion of the LAVEX Air show, which is currently underway in Tripoli. The aircraft are configured with 48 seats, and are equipped with new PW 127M engines, while featuring the very latest technological innovations in the field of navigation aid tools and passenger comfort. The aircraft are to be delivered later this year.
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Lockheed Martinrecently completed a successful test of a new infrared sensor turret aboard its Desert Hawk III Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), marking the first time a small UAS has flown with a 360-degree infrared sensor. Battle-proven, the hand-launched Desert Hawk III has provided the British Army with critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  The small UAS (54-inch wingspan) is specifically designed to operate at high altitudes, in high winds and extreme temperatures. Successful flight tests of the Desert Hawk III�fs new payload offering, held September 23- 24 at the Minnesota National Guard�fs Camp Ripley unmanned vehicle proving grounds, validate the UAS's ability to greatly improve nighttime ISR for ground forces. By providing 360-degree infrared coverage, troops obtain greater target location accuracy and superior image stability.  Combined with an upgraded 360-degree color Electro Optic (E/O) sensor, operators gained 10 times continuous zoom capability, significantly aiding in contact identification.
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The MQ-8B Fire Scout made naval aviation history when the fleet deployed this revolutionary rotary wing unmanned aircraft system aboard the USS McInerney (FFG-8) Monday. Fleet introduction of the Fire Scout marks the first time a large, automated UAS has been delivered for shipboard operation by sailors. The Fire Scout departed with the 4th Fleet to assist during a counter-narcotics trafficking deployment. The aircraft will provide unprecedented situational awareness as the fleet employs its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities, said Capt. Tim Dunigan, Fire Scout program manager.
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NASA begins a series of flights Oct. 15 to study changes to Antarctica's sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets. The flights are part of Operation Ice Bridge, a six-year campaign that is the largest airborne survey ever made of ice at Earth's polar regions. Researchers will work from NASA's DC-8, an airborne laboratory equipped with laser mapping instruments, ice-penetrating radar and gravity instruments. Data collected from the mission will help scientists better predict how changes to the massive Antarctic ice sheet will contribute to future sea level rise around the world. The plane, crew and scientists depart Oct. 12 from NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., and fly to Punta Arenas, Chile, where they will be based through mid-November. Seelye Martin of the University of Washington in Seattle leads the mission, with nearly 50 scientists and support personnel involved. The team is planning 17 flights over some of the fastest-changing areas in western Antarctica and its ice-covered coastal waters.
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The U.S. Air Force has selected Rockwell Collins for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase of the KC-135 Block 45 cockpit upgrade program. Under the contract, Rockwell Collins will modernize the KC-135 refueling tankers flight deck with the latest generation autopilot, flight director, radar altimeter and electronic engine instrument display. Two prototype aircraft will be modified during the EMD phase to establish the production baseline for 415 additional KC-135 aircraft expected to receive the Block 45 upgrade. "The Block 45 upgrade continues Rockwell Collins' role in transforming the KC-135 by replacing obsolete components with the latest digital avionics technology for increased safety, efficiency and reliability," said Phil Jasper, vice president and general manager of Mobility and Rotary Wing Solutions for Rockwell Collins.  "As the prime contractor for the KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) program we've had a very successful history of delivering these upgrades on time and on budget, which played an important role in winning this latest contract."
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The Northrop Grumman-developed MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned Aircraft System (VUAS) recently completed a flight under the command and control of a new company-developed STANAG 4586 compatible ground control station (GCS). The recent flight tests took place the week of Sept. 21 at Yuma Proving Ground (YPG). The flights demonstrated the functionality of the ground control station (GCS) that will be used for future capability demonstrations with the company-owned P7 Fire Scout VUAS. Flight activities will continue at YPG to prepare for the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at Fort Benning, Ga.
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Munich Airport has obviously put the brakes in the dip in traffic growth and is now on the road to recovery. The third quarter of this year showed a decline of just 3.6 percent, as compared with the 9 percent drop in total passengers seen in the first six months. The main factor behind this noticeable recovery is the strong demand for personal travel, which largely offset the decrease in the business travel sector. During the first nine months of 2009 a total of approximately 25 million travelers used Munich Airport. The number of take-offs and landings at Munich Airport was also down approximately 9 percent in the same period a year earlier to about 300,000 flights. The steeper decline in aircraft movements as compared with total passengers reflects the fact that the airlines have responded to the crisis by pooling their flights and reducing their total supply of seats. The use of larger aircraft and an improved load factor in August and September also resulted in a significant increase in the average number of passengers per flight.
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Lufthansa traffic figures declined in the first nine months 2009 owing to the persistent global recession. Germany�fs biggest airline was consequently unable to match the level achieved in the comparable term in the previous year. The Lufthansa passenger count in the first three quarters of the current year were down by 3.9 per cent to 41.9 million. In the same period, capacity was scaled back by 1.9 per cent in line with the drop in demand. Revenue seat-kilometres fell by 3.8 per cent. The seat load factor was down accordingly by 1.5 points to 77.7 per cent. Passenger numbers dropped in all traffic regions with the exception of the MiddleEast/Africa. All in all, Lufthansa, SWISS, bmi and Austrian Airlines welcomed 55.4 million passengers on board their flights in the first nine months of the year. Of the total, about 10.3 million flew with SWISS, around 970,000 with Austrian Airlines and about 2.2 million with bmi. The Group's nine-month figures include passengers from Austrian Airlines only since September and those from bmi only since July. The number of flights operated by the Lufthansa Group rose to 636,199, an increase of 1.4 per cent. Lufthansa Cargo also posted a drop in freight tonnage transported and utilisation in the first nine months of the year. Overall, the Lufthansa logistics services subsidiary transported a total of 1.1 million tonnes of freight and mail, which is 15.2 per cent less than in the previous year. Capacity utilisation in the airfreight business fell to 61.7 per cent.
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Insitu and Harris Corporation announced the successful demonstration of a Single-channel Ground and Airborne UHF/VHF Radio Relay System on the Integrator Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) during a Communications Relay Payload (CRP) test flight in Eastern Oregon. Harris Corporation is one of Insitu�fs team members for the small tactical unmanned aircraft system (STUAS)/Tier II competition. The Integrator UAS, outfitted with a relay based upon the field proven Harris Falcon III (AN/PRC-152) radios, enables mobile ground units to relay voice and data with an extensive end-to-end reach. Communications relay supported by an airborne asset is essential in situations where line of sight obstructions exist. The demonstration represents a culmination of development efforts spanning several years to provide the war fighter with ground communication capabilities.
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A Delta II rocket successfully delivered DigitalGlobe's WorldView-2 commercial satellite into orbit after launching the spacecraft from Space Launch Complex-2 at 11:51 a.m. PDT here October 8. United Launch Alliance provided the launch services for this mission on behalf of Boeing Launch Services. Delta II rockets previously launched both the Quickbird-2 mission in October 2001 and the WorldView-1 mission in September 2007 for DigitalGlobe. After a nominal approximately one-hour flight, the WorldView-2 spacecraft was successfully deployed into its proper orbit. WorldView-2 was placed in a sun-synchronous orbit where the spacecraft will perform its mission of collecting high resolution commercial digital Earth imagery from space.
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On August 7, 2009 the German Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB) signed the first contract for a retrofit of the new 4 panel glass cockpit on the Dornier 228 Control aircraft. The 4 panel glass cockpit configuration is based on the up-to-date digital avionics layout of the new Dornier 228 NG. This order initiates the modernization of the Dornier 228 Pollution Control fleet, which are operated by German Navy�fs MFG 3 �gGraf Zeppelin�h on behalf of the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs to perform pollution control and surveillance missions within the German coastal areas. Furthermore the aircraft are integrated in a European network of coastal and sea surveillance activities. Instead of the old analog cockpit instrumentation, aircraft serial number 8214 will receive a 4 panel flight display suit to show the flight and navigation data as well as engine, systems and surveillance information. New digital navigation and communication systems replace the existing analog radios. In addition military navigation and communication systems, SAR capable weather radar, ACAS II, HF and V/UHF communication systems complete the new configuration.
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