14.09.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 14 Sepember 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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The activity of Air France during recent months has been presented to the Comité Central d'Entreprise (Workers' Council) at an extraordinary meeting. In view of the difficult economic environment, Air France has adopted a strategy of significant capacity reduction in its passenger activity, of the order of 5%, enabling it to improve its load factor. Elsewhere, the company is preparing a reorganization of its medium-haul business in terms of both network and product. With regard to cargo, which has been severely impacted by the steep decline in world trade, a restructuring plan is underway, including a much more significant reduction in capacity (of some 15%), also aimed at improving the load factor. To adapt to these lower activity levels, the company has communicated to the CCE its intention to implement a voluntary redundancy plan, in line with the majority agreement signed in July 2009. The timetable and terms of the plan, which could involve around 1,500 jobs, will be the subject of discussions as early as next week, with a view to presenting a project voluntary redundancy plan to the CCE on October 21st.
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Starting on 7 September, Air France and Armavia operate four weekly code-share flights between Paris and Yerevan (Armenia) and five between Yerevan and Paris. The agreement was signed on 4 September by Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France, and Mikhail Bagdasarov, Chairman of Armavia. At Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the flights operated by Armavia will arrive at terminal 2C, offering customers new connecting opportunities with Air France's global network.
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Eurocopter announced the contract signature of 3 EC155 Dauphin helicopters with the Royal Thai Police (RTP) at Asian Aerospace in Hong Kong. These 3 new medium weight twin-engine helicopters will be delivered in 2011 and will be dedicated to VVIP missions.
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Aircraft emissions, ground transportation and related travel in the airline and airports business contribute to air pollution and global warming, and carbon reduction in this area has long been an area of research. In 2008 alone, U.S. passenger and cargo airline operations required 16.1 billion gallons or approximately 382.4 million barrels of jet fuel. Commercial aviation consumes 3.0 million barrels of jet fuel every day, which is close to 3.4% of entire global liquid fuel consumption. This is only going to increase with 21,400 new aircraft to be delivered and included in the future fleet that will consist of 27,720 passenger aircraft and 4,280 freight aircraft. In order to curb CO2 emissions of this large fleet, a cleaner fuel is indispensable. Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Consultant of Aerospace & Defense Practice Amartya De says that an A380 consumes less than three liters per 100 seat km, averaged across all OECD countries, and that for the average car is 8 liters per 100 km. "A Boeing 737 burns about 3,000 liters of fuel and emits 6.5 tons of CO2 every flight hour. This is as good as the pollution caused by 1,540 small cars for a day. This is just a rough estimate as under actual conditions, fuel consumption depends on a number of factors including fuel usage during take-off and landing, winds and jet streams that affect an aircraft's fuel efficiency." "A one way flight between Hong Kong and London would dump 1 Ton of CO2 per passenger into the atmosphere for the 9,600 km journey and if there is no definite way to offset this amount of carbon very soon, we are surely not far from the tipping point" he continues. Presently the airline industry contributes only 2.0% of the overall man-made global CO2 emissions compared to other forms of transport that contribute 16.0% of the global manmade CO2 emissions. However, this 2.0% contribution to CO2 emissions is likely to touch 3.0% by 2050. Amartya says that this large volume of jet fuel needs to be replaced by an alternative fuel as the financial impact and CO2 emissions are set to increase in the future. "This is due to the ever increasing commercial aircraft fleet numbers which are expected to almost double from its present strength of 16,800 to reach 32,000 by 2025", he explains.
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The first production Nimrod aircraft PA04 is undergoing final testing in preparation for its maiden flight. The aircraft is currently engaged in an intensive and detailed programme that tests the aircraft controls and systems and includes engine ground runs and taxi trials. Steve Timms, Managing Director of the Nimrod MRA4 programme said: “Over the last couple of years, through the hard work and dedication of all those involved, we've really started to build confidence in our ability to deliver this aircraft. The maiden flight of the first production aircraft will demonstrate that the Nimrod MRA4 is on track.” PA04 is the first of nine production standard aircraft that is to be built, and one of four aircraft that will be delivered to the aircraft's future main operating base at RAF Kinloss before the aircraft is formally declared in service at the end of next year.
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Boeing forecasts that the Asia Pacific region will rank as the world's largest aviation market over the next 20 years, requiring 8,960 new commercial jets valued at approximately $1.1 trillion. Asia Pacific is the largest market in the forecast for new airplanes in terms of both units required and market value. "Twenty years from now more than 40 percent of the world's airline traffic will begin, end or take place within the Asia Pacific region," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President - Marketing, Randy Tinseth. "That's a big leap for a region that was not even mentioned in our earliest Boeing market forecasts back in the 1950s." Tinseth said between now and 2028, Asia Pacific air travel will grow from 32 percent of the world market to 41 percent. The Asia Pacific region covers a broad area including Japan, Korea, China, Australia and India and currently accounts for more than 8,300 flights and 1.2 million travelers daily. In less than 10 years, it will be the largest air travel market in the world, according to the Boeing outlook released today in Hong Kong. Travel in the region is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent over the next 20 years. Strong domestic growth in China, India and other emerging Asian nations will contribute to high demand for single-aisle airplanes. Over the 20-year forecast period, more than half of the deliveries, some 5,600, will be single-aisles. With just 330 deliveries, the percentage of the fleet's large category will decrease from 10 to 4 percent as airlines switch to more efficient mid-size twins and even larger single-aisle jets. Airlines in the Asia Pacific region will take delivery of 2,590 twin-aisle airplanes. Regional jet deliveries will total 440. The Asia Pacific fleet will nearly triple from 3,910 to a total of 11,170 airplanes. More than 80 percent of this demand will be for growth. Delivery of new, more fuel-efficient airplanes ensures the region's fleets will remain among the youngest in the world.
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Lockheed Martin and Danish aerospace and defense company Terma A/S today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore opportunities associated with the potential sale of the U.S. Navy's MH-60R multimission helicopter to the Danish Government. The agreement, announced at the Defence Systems & Equipment International exhibition, follows the Danish Government's June 2009 authorization to procure new ship-based helicopters to support Royal Danish Navy vessels operating in the North Atlantic and internationally. The U.S. Navy's MH-60R multimission helicopter is a candidate solution for these maritime operations.
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SELEX Galileo successfully completed an intensive flight campaign for its Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) Falco to expand its ISR capabilities through the integration of multiple sensors and additional functionality. The flight campaign included flights at SELEX Galileo's dedicated UAS facility at Parc Aberporth in Wales and at the UAV Arctic Flight Test Centre in Finnish Lapland, owned by Robonic, the Finnish catapult producer. SELEX Galileo also validated the latest version of its High Mobility Ground Control Station (HM-GCS) which further enhances the system's ISR credentials. The HM-GCS is self-contained and offers a full training simulation environment and mission rehearsal capability. Exploiting a new and more powerful datalink, the system performed “hand–over” missions which combined a number of Ground Control Stations (GCS). This in-flight hand–over, increases the overall operational capability of the system by overcoming the inherent Line of Sight (LOS) data link limits of a single ground station. During the campaign, SELEX Galileo integrated and tested different payloads: in particular Falco flewwith a combined payload including the Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR) sensor and a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). This configuration allows the system to perform a highly demanding surveillance missions in low visibility conditions. The radar sensor is PicoSAR, SELEX Galileo's active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar specifically designed for UAVs.
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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean signed a framework agreement Wednesday for cooperative activities in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. Canadian Ambassador to the United States Michael Wilson hosted the signing at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. "NASA is very proud of its long and outstanding relationship with Canada, one that has been nurtured during the past four decades with increasing collaboration in a wide range of space science and exploration activities," NASA's Bolden said. "As NASA continues to enhance the scientific observation of our planet and the solar system, we are looking to Canada and our other international partners to play key roles in our future exploration plans." Commenting on the significance of the signing, MacLean said, "The United States has been a critical partner for Canada ever since the launch of the Alouette-1 satellite in 1962. From these early beginnings, we have worked together to forge a space alliance that has become a catalyst, driving generations of space expertise, innovation, science, and technological excellence through our participation in space projects that continue to serve the interests of both our nations."
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, on behalf of the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, successfully launched the PAN satellite at 5:35 p.m. EDT, September 8 from Space Launch Complex-41 as a commercial launch service. This launch marks the 10th overall mission for ULA in 2009 and the third Atlas V mission of the year. This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration and used a single common core booster powered by the RD-180 engine and a single engine Centaur upper stage. The launch portion of the mission was completed with spacecraft separation approximately two hours after launch.
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Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astrium announce a contract for a SpaceX Falcon 1e to launch an Earth observation satellite designed by Astrium or its recently acquired subsidiary Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL). The Falcon 1e is an 'enhanced' version of SpaceX's successful Falcon 1 launch vehicle. Designed from the ground up by SpaceX, the Falcon 1e has upgraded propulsion, structures and avionics systems in order to further improve reliability and bring to market increased mass-to-orbit capability to better serve the needs of the small satellite community. Astrium and SSTL provide a range of innovative, cutting edge Earth Observation satellite products and through this agreement will be able to offer customers a turnkey solution, with in-orbit delivery of a low Earth orbit satellite system.
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Lufthansa Technik and Aegean Airlines from Greece have renewed their contract regarding C-checks for narrowbody short- and medium-haul aircraft. After heavy maintenance services for three A320s and three Boeing 737s were already carried out in 2008, the recently signed follow-up agreement comprises another 19 aircraft to be serviced, 14 Airbus A320s, three A321s and two Boeing 737 Classics of the -400 model. The C-checks will be carried out from December 2009 to February 2011 at the subsidiaries Lufthansa Technik Malta and Shannon Aerospace. Both overhaul facilities are set up utilizing the most modern principles of lean production and quality management, resulting in shortest turn-around-times and most competitive prices without compromising the high quality level of services provided.
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Frankfurt Airport's (FRA) traffic results continued to develop positively in August 2009. Germany's largest airport registered about 4.9 million passengers, down only 0.4 percent year-on-year. Fraport executive board chairman Dr. Stefan Schulte is optimistic that the decline has bottomed out. Commenting on the actual traffic figures Schulte said: "From month to month the traffic decline is lessening. In the passenger segment, we have almost reached the previous year's level during August 2009 - especially because of the base-year effect from the weakening economy in the second half of 2008. With improving positive development, we have a good chance of ending the year with a passenger decline of only five to six percent. Up to now, we had been expecting six to nine percent fewer passengers than in the previous year." FRA handled 156,627 metric tons of airfreight in August 2009, representing a five percent year-on-year decline. Aircraft movements dropped five percent to 39,663 takeoffs and landings. Maximum takeoff weights (MTOWs) fell by 3.2 percent to approximately 2.4 million metric tons. Cumulative figures for the first eight months of 2009 show an average decline of 6.3 percent for passenger traffic, 18 percent for airfreight tonnage, and 5.6 percent for aircraft movements.
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Kaman announced that the Helicopters Division of its subsidiary, Kaman Aerospace Corporation has been awarded a five-year contract with a potential value of $53 million to build composite helicopter blade skins and skin core assemblies for Bell Helicopters. Under the terms of the contract, Kaman will provide 18 different assemblies for H1, 406, 407, 412, 427, 429, 430 and BA609 aircraft. All work will be performed at the Kaman HeliworX(TM) full-service aerospace innovation and manufacturing support center in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Initial deliveries to Bell's Hurst, TX, facility will begin in late 2009. "Kaman has the skills and competitiveness we require in the composite blade-manufacturing arena," said Mary Simmerman, Senior VP Supply Chain Management at Bell. "We expect this to be a positive agreement for both companies."
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Aeros announced the completion of the Buoyancy Demonstration Test of a Rigid Aerostructure Technology that concluded performance under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Buoyancy Assisted Lift Air Vehicle (BAAV) program for the United States Department of Defense. The focus of the BAAV program was to demonstrate a semi-monocoque structure of rigid design (Aerostructure) for a buoyancy assisted lift air vehicle. During successful Structure Integrity testing, Aeros conducted scaled demonstrations that indicate that in a full scale vehicle, a rigid aerostructure can be both light and strong enough to accommodate high-speed dynamic air loads without failure. The Buoyancy Demonstration test validated this structural approach as the air platform basis for a new class of buoyancy assisted vehicles that is more robust and has potentially greater military utility. New missions that require extended speed, range, and loiter times would be enabled. The Aerostructure, essentially the body of the air vehicle, is one of the main technology elements of the new type of variable buoyancy air vehicle. Aeros plans to implement the Aerostructure and other technologies demonstrated under the DARPA program on a full scale version of the BAAV vehicle known as an Aeroscraft.
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The UK and French governments have announced the start of a joint Assessment Phase to develop systems and technologies for a new helicopter-launched anti-surface missile. The announcement was made at this year's Defence Systems Exhibition International (DSEi) at the Excel Centre in London, a biannual gathering of the world's largest defence companies. The weapon is being developed for use initially in the naval environment and to be launched from different helicopters, including the British Lynx Wildcat and the French NH90 and Panther platforms. This co-operative project, which meets the UK's Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) and the French Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) requirements, is the latest in a long history of co-operation between the two nations on missile projects, which has most recently included Meteor and the Sea Viper (Principal Anti Air Missile System - PAAMS). The project will begin with an Assessment Phase expected to last just over two years and will cost £35m, to be shared between both nations. Work will be undertaken in the UK and France, using industries within their respective supply chains. This Assessment Phase is fully consistent with the UK MoD's aims to deepen co-operation with close allies and to take forward the various strands of the Team Complex Weapons initiative.
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Sikorsky Aerospace Services announced its Helicopter Support Inc. (HSI) business unit has begun operating a new contractor logistics support site here for Light Utility Helicopters. The first three of six UH-72A Lakota helicopters from American Eurocopter arrived at the site in early July, signifying a key event for the on-time activation of the seventh contractor logistics support (CLS) site operating in the HSI CLS program. The aircraft delivery there brings the LUH fleet to a total of 72 aircraft. "The Fort Rucker CLS site will support an air ambulance detachment that provides mission-critical support to army aviator training, Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) and Army Ranger training in North Georgia," said Sam Mehta, HSI President. "The on-schedule activation of the CLS site at the 'home of Army Aviation' reemphasizes our commitment to our customer and illustrates the strong team relationships that continue to make this program a success."
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Boeing delivered the Qatar Emiri Air Force's second C-17 Globemaster III during a ceremony at the company's C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach, completing Qatar's initial order for the world's most advanced airlifter. The aircraft, designated Qatar 02, is registered as a military aircraft yet bears the same gray, maroon and white livery seen on government-owned Qatar Airways commercial jetliners. This unique C-17 paint scheme -- the first of its kind -- is intended to build awareness of Qatar's participation in operations around the world, Al-Malki said. Qatar 02 will make a brief stop at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., before heading to its new home at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
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The missile system house Diehl BGT Defence has won Saudi Arabia as a new export customer for the IRIS-T air-to-air guided missile. Both the Eurofighter Typhoon as well as the Tornado combat aircraft of the Saudi Air Force are to be equipped with IRIS-T missiles. IRIS-T is a European six-nation program under German supervision and the industrial management of Diehl BGT Defence. Worldwide IRIS-T is one of the most sophisticated infrared-guided air-to-air missiles. This year 700 missiles are expected to be delivered to the nations of the IRIS-T consortium as well as to international customers. IRIS-T provides the basis for a missile family with additional applications for ground-based air defence and modern submarine armament
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NASA has selected a final destination for its Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, after a journey of nearly 5.6 million miles that included several orbits around Earth and the moon. The mission team announced Wednesday that Cabeus A will be the target crater for the LCROSS dual impacts scheduled for 7:30 a.m. EDT on Oct. 9, 2009. The crater was selected after an extensive review as the optimal location for LCROSS' evaluation of whether water ice exists at the lunar south pole. LCROSS will search for water ice by sending its spent upper-stage Centaur rocket to impact the permanently shadowed polar crater. The satellite will fly into the plume of dust left by the impact and measure the properties before also colliding with the lunar surface. The LCROSS team selected Cabeus A based on a set of conditions that include proper debris plume illumination for visibility from Earth, a high concentration of hydrogen, and mature crater features such as a flat floor, gentle slopes and the absence of large boulders.
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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain signed a memorandum of understanding Friday for cooperation in the field of space transportation. The agreement was signed at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "From shuttle Spacelab missions to the International Space Station, ESA has a long history of participating with NASA in human spaceflight," Bolden said. "With this agreement, it is our intent to continue to build this relationship, sharing valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts that will help transport humans to low Earth orbit and beyond." The agreement will allow NASA and ESA to exchange technical information and personnel, which will aid the eventual development of new transportation systems. It is expected that ESA's Ariane 5 development and flight experience will provide valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts for NASA's new launch and spacecraft
systems.
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Boeing has received a three-year, $156.5 million extension and modification to its Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) contract with NASA. The CAPPS contract is a performance-based, cost-plus-award fee agreement to provide services at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The contract extension and modification is Boeing's second and final CAPPS option. It covers Oct. 1, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2012. The total potential value of the CAPPS contract is approximately $824 million. To date, the CAPPS team has processed more than 500,000 pounds of on-orbit hardware for delivery to the International Space Station (ISS). The team is responsible for processing payloads that ensure the final assembly of and provision of critical spares for the ISS. When complete, the ISS will weigh nearly 1 million pounds and measure 361 feet from one solar array to the other.
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