15.06.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 15 June 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that Cathay Pacific Airways CEO Tony Tyler started his one-year term as the Chairman of the IATA Board of Governors. Tyler succeeds Samer Majali, CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines, who served as Chairman from June 2008.
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Airlines in oneworld generated record revenues from the alliance's sales activities in the past year - ending the grouping's first decade on a new high. More than eight million passengers transferred between the airlines' flights in 2008 producing interline revenues within the alliance of US$2.4 billion, up 10 per cent year-on-year in both cases. Revenues from oneworld fares and sales activity in 2008 totaled more than US$850 million, a 25 per cent increase. These oneworld revenues grew significantly faster than member airlines' overall passenger revenues, which collectively edged up just 3.5 per cent.
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Rockwell Collins introduced a next-generation simulation architecture that leverages advanced technologies and a modular design to maximize life cycle value and enhance training effectiveness across military and civil training platforms. Designed from the user and maintainer's point of view, the advanced CORE™ simulation architecture features common open reusable elements including scalable software adaptable for multiple training devices, integrated tool sets and Rockwell Collins' industry leading display and image generation technology. A highlight of the CORE simulation architecture is a highly configurable tool suite that provides the freedom to easily customize training for multiple situations. Other features: Hardware and software design easily accommodates upgrades and new technology insertions through  open systems architecture; Integrated visual and display technology offers industry-leading realism; Scalable, modular design across a broad range of training devices allows proactive obsolescence management and integration of the latest in commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. CTC Aviation Group plc will be the first CORE simulation architecture customer, which will be featured on two full-flight simulators to be delivered to the UK-based training center beginning in late summer.
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Era Helicopters LLC (Era) and Priority 1 Air Rescue Inc. (P1AR) announced the implementation of a teaming arrangement to jointly provide Search and Rescue and Medical Evacuation (SAR/Medevac) operations in the Gulf of Mexico and abroad. Together, Era and P1AR are now offering FAA-approved full-service SAR/Medevac capability and turnkey solutions to offshore Oil & Gas companies. The P1AR crews including pilots, hoist operators, rescue swimmers and flight paramedics will supplement Era's state-of-the-art AW-139 and EC-225 helicopters dedicated to the program. These aircraft types have flight performance capabilities to execute deepwater maritime SAR/Medevac operations at distances up to 250 nautical miles offshore.
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Astrium has been commissioned by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to conduct a study for the testing of future moon landings. The aim is to prove the technological feasibility of a soft and precise robotic landing on the moon. Astrium has been selected due to the company's outstanding technically expertise, with a strong foundation in place to both design and implement such a mission. The study will last nine months and be worth nearly EUR 1 million. It will conclude when the technical specifications for the landing vehicle have been determined. The next step will be the development, construction and testing of the vehicle to simulate a moon landing on Earth. A robotic moon landing specifically requires an autonomous and optical navigation system to carry out the landing smoothly and precisely, plus a very complex propulsion system. "The technologies for this type of landing are currently only available in part, or they have to be built from scratch," study manager Dr. Peter Kyr said in Bremen on Friday. Kyr stressed that Astrium has top-grade know-how thanks to the successful ATV mission and the flight demonstrator PHOENIX. The first phase of the study is scheduled to begin in June and should last nine months. During the second phase, the trial carrier will be used to test key technologies as well as the system designed to carry out the soft and precise landings. Engine-supported descents from an altitude of 1.5 kilometres will be performed during the planned trial flights and sensors for carrying out the soft landings, including navigation and obstacle avoidance, will also be tested. The trial runs will be conducted at a testing area in Germany, with the exact location being determined during the course of the study.
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ESA Member States have unanimously voted to extend the Envisat mission through to 2013. Envisat - the world's largest and most sophisticated satellite ever built - has been providing scientists and operational users with invaluable data for global monitoring and forecasting since its launch in 2002. "The decision to extend the Envisat mission operations, taken during the last ESA Earth Observation Programme Board meeting, is a recognition of the success of the mission, in terms of the wide number of scientific and operational users served and the good technical status of the satellite after seven years of operations," Envisat Mission Manager Henri Laur said. Envisat, short for environmental satellite, has a unique combination of 10 different instruments which collect data about Earth's atmosphere, land, sea and ice - providing scientists with the most detailed picture yet of the state of the planet.
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Embraer delivered the first EMBRAER 195 jet to Augsburg Airways, a Lufthansa Regional partner, during a ceremony held at Embraer's headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil. The original deal with Lufthansa was announced in June 2007, with 30 firm orders for the EMBRAER 190 jet and the option to receive any model of the E-Jets family. Augsburg Airways' EMBRAER 195 is configured for 116 passengers in a dual-class layout, separated by a moveable divider, and the “next seat free” (ticket purchased, where the neighboring seat remains unoccupied) in the Business Class. Based at Lufthansa's Munich hub, the aircraft will be operated by Augsburg Airways on Lufthansa routes, offering passengers more comfort and safety, without the undesirable middle seat.
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Raytheon submitted its KillerBee unmanned aircraft system in response to the U.S. Navy's Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Tier II request for proposal. The KillerBee UAS features a blended-wing aircraft body design. It also has systems for land or sea launch, recovery and ground control. The unique design of KillerBee enables growth for future payloads and additional mission capabilities. KillerBee is designed to provide the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force with a UAS for their respective Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Tier II missions. KillerBee has the ability to insert persistent reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition into the battlespace and is ideally suited for force protection in an expeditionary environment.
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Piper Aircraft announced the promotion of two of its senior executives. Kevin J. Gould, Piper's Vice President of Operations, will become Piper's Chief Executive Officer, and John Becker, Piper's Vice President of Engineering, will become President of the Company. Effective, June 26, 2009, Gould and Becker will take on the duties of James K. Bass, who will resign his position as Piper President and CEO. “All things come to an end,” Bass said in remarks to Piper employees today. “I have successfully completed my mission at Piper and am leaving the company in very capable hands. What I was brought in to do has been done, and it is now time for me to move on to other challenges. Kevin, John and the rest of the management team are exceptionally talented and dedicated to the future of Piper. They are seasoned, highly determined, and will continue what we have created: a results-driven culture.
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Boeing and teammate L-3 have delivered four Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Tactical Operation Flight Trainers (TOFT) to the U.S. Navy and declared them “Ready for Training.” Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Va., has two of the trainers, and two are located at NAS Lemoore, Calif. “These are the first Block II TOFTs, the new generation of trainers,” said Steven Dent, F/A-18 Training Systems manager for Boeing. “The Boeing/L-3 team is able to offer a high level of aircraft concurrency with these new devices.” The newly installed Block II TOFTs reflect the upgrades made to Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft, including advanced sensors, avionics and the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, which Boeing has been delivering to the Navy since 2005. The team completed installation and on-site testing of the TOFTs earlier this month. The current contract calls for six more trainers, in total, to be delivered to NAS Oceana and Lemoore. Boeing expects to deliver the next two trainers in March 2010. A potential follow-on contract calls for up to four additional trainers.
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International Launch Services (ILS) announces a second contract for two new firm launches and one optional launch for Intelsat of Bermuda, the world's largest satellite operator. This comes on the heels of the March 23, 2009 announcement for the launch of the Intelsat 16 satellite on an ILS Proton. Contract terms and mission assignments for these awards were not disclosed. Frank McKenna, President of ILS said, "This award of two firm launches and one optional launch continues the expansion of Proton launch services with Intelsat. Two months ago, we contracted for Intelsat 16 and this new award provides another strong vote of confidence and trust in ILS Proton. Our team is pleased to partner with Intelsat on all of these missions, delivering quality and critical schedule assurance that is integral to the success of their business."
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The United States delivered four Mi-17 cargo helicopters to the Pakistani army to support Pakistan's counterinsurgency as well as humanitarian efforts, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad announced. The helicopters, delivered at the request of the Pakistani government, will increase capabilities in current operations against militant extremists, officials said. They'll also support efforts to care for thousands of Pakistanis displaced from their homes by the fighting. The United States is in the process of identifying additional Mi-17s that may be made available to Pakistan in the future, officials said. The U.S. military has several of the Russian-built medium-weight, single-rotor helicopters in its inventory, primarily for training purposes, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
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On the occasion of their 20th meeting, the Board of Supervisors, the highest decision making body within OCCAR, approved the Integration decision for the MUSIS programme (Multi-national Space based Imaging System). This decision allows the OCCAR Executive Administration to dedicate resources to this new programme in order to undertake all necessary work in co-operation with the MUSIS Participating States (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain) for the finalisation of the key documents required to launch the Federating Common Activities of the Programme. It is a new step forward in the development of OCCAR as the organisation will enter for the first time into space-related business. This decision also makes it possible for OCCAR-Executive Administration to act as Administrating and Contracting Agency for the preliminary studies on the User Ground Segment which will be carried out in the timeframe 2009 - 2010.
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Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Lockheed Martin have entered into a cooperative agreement with the objective of integrating the Joint Strike Missile on the F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter. Following integration and certification, the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), could be carried internally and externally on the F-35. The JSM is a new missile that builds on the mature Naval Strike Missile technology, which is currently in production for the Royal Norwegian Navy and the Polish Navy. The Norwegian MoD awarded a contract to Kongsberg in April 2009 for the first phase of the JSM development.
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The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) has published its civil aerospace strategy report, examining how the UK industry can remain at the forefront of the highly competitive global industry. The strategy covers the next twenty years' of developments in the sector. The report outlines that the major challenge for the £20 billion per year UK aerospace sector as a whole is to maintain its existing scale and scope through the capture of substantial advanced design and manufacturing shares of the key emerging programmes, such as in the new single-aisle replacement, whilst positioning itself to exploit the new growth opportunities (in areas such as helicopters and unmanned aerial systems) and shifting trends in a competitive global market. Ian Godden, SBAC Chief Executive, said: "The British aerospace industry is a high-value manufacturing and engineering success story. It currently enjoys a 17 per cent global market share thanks to historically excellent public and private sector investment. To sustain our future contribution to a balanced British economy further action is now required from industry and the Government in partnership. With the global market for the new single aisle replacement for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 alone worth an estimate US$1 trillion over the next twenty years, with the total market at over US$2.6 trillion, this is an opportunity that the UK literally cannot afford to miss."
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CAE announced a series of military contracts valued at more than C$80 million. Key customers include the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, United States Navy and other global militaries. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted CAE Aircrew Training Services plc to perform major upgrades on two of the CH-47 Chinook full-mission simulators located at CAE's Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) at Royal Air Force Station Benson. The investment being made by the UK MoD in these upgrades will provide a significant enhancement to operational training and mission rehearsal capabilities for Royal Air Force (RAF) CH-47 Chinook aircrews. The United States Navy has contracted CAE USA to perform major upgrades on two MH-60S operational flight trainers located at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island. CAE will provide a range of simulator upgrades, including the addition of simulation software to support training for organic airborne mine countermeasures (OAMCM).
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NASA postponed space shuttle Endeavour's launch to the International Space Station on Saturday because of a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the shuttle's external fuel tank. The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from the launch pad. Managers scrubbed the launch for at least 96 hours. The earliest the shuttle could be ready to launch is June 17. However, there is a conflict on the Eastern Range that date with the scheduled launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.
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GKN Aerospace has awarded a contract to Brotje Automation of Germany to supply an advanced 'moving line' assembly system. This contract requires Brotje to provide a complete turnkey solution for the automated 'moving line' assembly of the A350XWB wing trailing edge (WTE) and main landing gear parts onto the aircraft's primary all-composite rear wing spar. Phil Swash, CEO, Aero structures - Europe, GKN Aerospace comments: "Our A350XWB contracts are at the heart of GKN Aerospace's strategic move into the manufacture and supply of large, fully integrated sections of the aircraft wing. In order to undertake this work we are investing heavily in creating a new, state of the art manufacturing and assembly plant at our operation in Bristol, UK. The Brotje moving line assembly equipment will form a key element in this new facility, increasing the speed, efficiency and flexibility of the complex wing assembly process. We have been working with Brotje since 2008 on this innovative assembly line concept." During assembly, automated guided vehicles will move the A350 wing structures through dedicated work stations that will carry out a number of advanced procedures including five axis machining, robotic drilling and laser scanning. This assembly line, and the complete new GKN Aerospace manufacturing and assembly facility, will commence operating in 2010, delivering first development A350XWB wing structures later in the year
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The Tata Group and Sikorsky Aircraft completed an agreement for Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to manufacture Sikorsky S-92 helicopter cabins in India. The first cabin is scheduled for delivery in late 2010 from a new greenfield facility that TASL will construct at Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Tata Advanced Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons and is a lead company for providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence, homeland security and disaster management.
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The U.S. Air Force and Raytheon completed a preliminary design review of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer. The MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform. MALD is a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (about 575 statute miles). MALD-J recently completed captive carry testing. Raytheon is scheduled to conduct a MALD-J free-flight demonstration by late 2009 and begin engineering manufacturing development in 2010. A milestone C decision - the decision to go into production - is expected in early 2011.
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The Canadian military and Raytheon have completed a joint venture that integrated the combat-proven Enhanced Paveway II 500-pound GBU-49 on Canada's CF-18 Hornet strike aircraft. The effort took less than 90 days and culminated in the successful employment of four weapons, which were dropped during the U.S. Air Force's Weapon System Evaluation program. This marked the first time a GPS-guided weapon was employed by a Canadian CF-18. "EP II will provide a much needed capability to the fighter force by providing a precise and flexible option to meet the challenges of the modern battlespace," said Maj. Paul Frigault, officer commanding of the Canadian operational test and evaluation effort responsible for evaluating the GBU-49. "This is a milestone for the Canadian Forces in demonstrating the ability to deliver precision munitions through clouds."
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Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) have signed a contract regarding a Total Component Support TCS for the airline's fleet of Bombardier Q400 regional aircraft. In the coming five years, Lufthansa Technik (LHT) will supply five of the newly acquired turboprop aircraft flying for the PAL Express brand with component pooling and repair services. It is the first turbo-prop contract for the LHT Group in Asia.
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