16.11.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 16 November 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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Cobham Aviation Services Australia has bought three BAe 146QT (Quiet Trader)) freighters from BAE Systems to service a renewed A$100 million air freight contract awarded by Australian air Express. The three BAe 146QTs have been leased from BAE Systems since the early 1990s and Cobham has been providing aircrew and maintenance support for the aircraft to Australian air Express (AaE) under a series of contracts over the years. The aircraft carry 20,000 tonnes of freight every year on high-capacity, high-priority overnight services linking Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
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Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek Aviation Group (IAI/Bedek) has completed the conversion of the prototype B767-300ER from passenger to B767-300BDSF (Bedek Special Freighter) configuration. Ground tests have been completed. The first flight took place on October 27, 2009 and flight testing is underway.  Certification and delivery to the customer, euroAtlantic airways - transportes a?reos s.a is anticipated before the end of 2009.  euroAtlantic airways of Portugal is a Passenger Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) airline. This will be euroAtlantic's first cargo aircraft and signifies the company's intention to expand its operations into the freighter market. The B767-300BDSF conversion program was developed by Bedek for M&B Conversions of Dublin, Ireland, a joint venture company of Mitsui & Co. of Japan, and IAI/Bedek.
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Boeing submitted a proposal to the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5 for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II weapon system program, following the completion of a successful 42-month risk reduction program. "Our SDB II design offers a new level of capability to U.S. warfighters," said Debra Rub, Boeing Weapons Programs vice president. "The Boeing SDB II solution builds on our success with SDB Increment I, and we're confident it will be the weapon of choice for new and existing military platforms. We look forward to supporting our Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps customers as the program moves into the next phase."
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Turkish Airlines has signed a contract for the purchase of three additional Airbus A330-300 aircraft, bringing the total number of A330-300s ordered by the company to ten. The carrier will operate the aircraft in a two-class configuration and with a capacity of 319 seats on its high capacity medium haul network. The aircraft, due for delivery from September 2010, will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines. With the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding, Turkish Airlines also plans to acquire two Freighter versions of the A330-200, the A330-200F, in order to prepare future expansion and renew its current fleet composed of four A310s.
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Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract by Saab Aerosystems to deliver Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) for the NEURON European unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator. The LCR-100 AHRS units will be built by the company's German navigation systems subsidiary, Northrop Grumman LITEF. The LCR-100 Gyrocompass AHRS is a north finding attitude and heading reference system based on a state-of-the-art fibre-optic gyro and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) accelerometers. This commercial off-the-shelf equipment provides accurate and uninterrupted attitude, heading, position, velocity and status information.
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Boeing announced that it has successfully completed tests of the Counter Measures Dispenser System (CMDS) for Project Wedgetail, Australia's Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system. The tests were conducted in September and October off the Washington coast and over Puget Sound, Wash. Completion of CMDS testing is a key step toward verification of the Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft's overall Electronic Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) capability. EWSP is designed to warn aircrews about and protect against missiles targeting the aircraft. The CMDS responds to threats by releasing chaff and flares to decoy incoming missiles away from the aircraft. Boeing and its industry supplier, BAE Systems, developed and integrated the CMDS system. Testing included 19 flights that dispensed more than 500 units of chaff and flares. The AEW&C team collected data via five high-speed video cameras mounted on the Wedgetail aircraft and an additional video camera attached to a T-33 chase plane.
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The first two Soyuz launchers have left Russia for the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana (northern part of South America). The legendary Russian launcher will lift off from its new launch pad, now being completed, for the first time in 2010. The two Soyuz launchers left St. Petersburg today aboard the MN Colibri, which is one of two ships used by Arianespace to transport Ariane launch vehicles from their European manufacturing sites to French Guiana. The ship will arrive in a port near Kourou, French Guiana, in about two weeks. The two Soyuz rockets will be launched in 2010 from a new purpose-built Soyuz launch complex at the Guiana Space Center. Soyuz will become the medium-lift launcher in the Arianespace family, operated from the most modern launch site in the world alongside the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher, which just logged its 34th successful mission in a row.
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The Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine powering the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has completed altitude qualification ground testing, the final testing that demonstrates the operability and performance required for Conventional Take-off and Landing (CTOL) and Carrier Variant (CV) Initial Service Release (ISR). ISR is the U.S. Government's recognition that the F135 engine is ready for operational use and clears Pratt & Whitney to deliver and field production F135 engines. "I'm very proud of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine team and the test team at Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee for their efforts in completing this critical milestone, not just for the F135 engine but for the entire F-35 program," said Warren Boley, Vice President of F135 Engine Programs at Pratt & Whitney. "Their hard work has demonstrated the performance of the F135 engine and puts us at the doorstep of achieving ISR."
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Fiscal 2009 was the safest flying year in the 62-year history of the US Air Force.  There were only 17 Class A mishaps. The next best year was fiscal 2006 with 19 Class A mishaps. A Class A mishap is one where there is loss of life, an injury resulting in permanent total disability, the destruction of an Air Force aircraft or property damage or loss exceeding $1 million. According to William C. Redmond, Air Force Safety Center executive director, regarding destroyed aircraft specifically, the Air Force matched its safest year -- fiscal 2006 -- with eight destroyed aircraft, down from 15 in fiscal 2008. "When we looked at our emphasis areas for fiscal 2009, 'back to basics' and 'training rules of engagement discipline', the results were great because they were only a factor in one Class A Mishap," Mr. Redmond said. "That's the lowest we've ever seen.
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Forecast International's “The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft” projects that a total of 3,754 regional aircraft will be produced during the next 10 years (2009-2018). This forecast includes both regional jets, which account for about two-thirds of the forecast, and regional turboprops. As calculated in constant 2009 U.S. dollars, the value of the forecast production is estimated at some $115 billion. According to the Forecast International study, the top three regional aircraft manufacturers during the forecast timeframe will be Bombardier, Embraer, and ATR. Combined, the three manufacturers are expected to account for more than 70 percent of the regional aircraft built during the 10-year period, and more than 80 percent of the monetary value of worldwide production. However, the study also points to a number of newcomers entering the regional aircraft market that will challenge the established players for sales and market share. These include the Chinese firm AVIC with its ARJ21 regional jet, the Japanese company Mitsubishi with the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), and the Russian firm Sukhoi Civil Aircraft with the Superjet 100.
Meanwhile, Bombardier, Embraer, and ATR are not sitting still, as all three are looking at refreshing and expanding their current product lines. Besides bringing its new CSeries family of 100-145 seat airliners into service, Bombardier may introduce a stretched, 90-passenger version of its 70-seat Q400 turboprop. ATR is studying the possibility of developing an all-new turboprop family in the 70-98 seat range. Embraer is considering several possible options to enhance its product line, including a new jetliner sized above 120 seats.
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Rockwell Collins announced that it has achieved JAR-FSTD A Level D, Zero Flight Time certification from the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority for its new Boeing 737 NG full flight simulator. The device, which is part of Rockwell Collins' Edge™ family of simulators, utilizes the company's CORETM simulation architecture. It has been installed at CTC Aviation Group's Crew Training Center near Southampton, U.K.
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Frankfurt Airport's traffic figures continued on the recovery path during the reporting month of October 2009. Fraport AG registered about 4.6 million passengers at its Frankfurt Airport home base in October 2009, only slightly down by 1.9 percent year-on-year. "October 2009 continued the positive trend in traffic development that we have seen during the course of the year," Fraport executive board chairman Dr. Stefan Schulte said. "Following a 10.9 percent drop in passenger traffic in the first quarter, the decline shrank to 5.6 percent in the second quarter and narrowed to only 2.8 percent by the third quarter. October 2009 figures indicated that the decline in traffic is increasingly lessening." One of factors contributing to this improvement is intercontinental traffic, which recorded particularly strong growth on the Asia and Central Africa routes. FRA's airfreight tonnage improved even more noticeably in October 2009. "Airfreight is an important early indicator of how the worldwide economy is developing. For the first time since June 2008, this traffic segment recorded growth at FRA in October 2009 - reaching 177,945 metric tons or a plus of 0.7 percent," explained Schulte. The major growth drivers included European traffic (up 18 percent) as well as Frankfurt Airport's important North America market (up slightly by 1.1 percent).
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The Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) successfully completed its sixth flight demonstration in a recent test at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The JASSM-ER program is now six for six flight test successes. During the latest successful flight test, the missile was released from a B-1B aircraft and flew a preplanned course to collect data, and then destroyed the designated target. JASSM-ER will continue integrated flight testing through mid-2010 in preparation for Operational Test and Evaluation, which will commence in 2011. A low-rate initial production decision is anticipated in 2011.
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Diamond Aircraft is announcing the successful completion of the first Upgrade DA42 New Generation for the Spanish Flight School Academy CESDA. During that program the two TAE diesel engines were swopped against two new diesel Austro Engines (AE300), as well as all other necessary adoptions were performed in order to change the aircraft to a New Generation aircraft. In the course of this program Diamond Aircraft offers not only the exchange of used TAE engines to new diesel AE300 engines, but also to check the aircraft for all necessary work to get the latest technical status. Furthermore, there is the possibility to install new technical, avionic and interior options during the Upgrade Program.
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The Airbus Military A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) has completed another major milestone performing successfully a series of wet contacts using the new generation Cobham 905E hose and drogue refuelling pods, located under the wings. The receiver aircraft was a Spanish Air Force F/A-18A+ fighter. This first “wet contact” using the advanced new generation pods demonstrates that the refuelling system is well integrated into the airframe, with all systems functioning satisfactorily. It also validates the fuel transfer capability of the A330 MRTT to receiver aircraft through this refuelling means, as tested on the ground in early September and with dry contacts late May. This new refuelling pod is a development of the 907E pod already in service with the Canadian and German air forces on their A310 MRTTs. The pods can each deliver up to 420 US gal/min (1600 litres/min) through a 90 ft (27.4 m) hose, and are controlled from a state-of-the-art Fuel Operator Console located in the cockpit.
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EADS North America has delivered the first of five H-72A training helicopters for the U.S. Navy today, marking a new milestone in the company's production of multi-role helicopters for U.S. military services. The H-72A fleet will be based at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., where it is to be used to train test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. The H-72A shares the same airframe and is manufactured on the same production line as the U.S. Army's UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter—both of which are produced in Mississippi by EADS North America's American Eurocopter subsidiary.
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Boeing received a $500,000 U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory contract on Sept. 30 for the first phase of a program to demonstrate miniature weapon technology for use on unmanned airborne vehicles (UAV). "UAVs are increasingly called upon to perform strike operations, and this weapon technology is designed specifically for those missions," said Carl Avila, director of Boeing Phantom Works' Advanced Weapons and Missiles. "The concept behind this technology is designed to generate very low collateral damage and allows warfighters to engage a variety of targets, including those in a suburban terrain environment."
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Boeing has completed installing reinforcements within the side-of-body section on the first 787 Dreamliner. The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage. Boeing expects to complete the installations on the static test airframe and the second flight-test airplane in the coming days. "Completing this work is a significant step toward first flight. We continue to be pleased with the progress of the team and remain confident the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will occur before the end of the year," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We will test the modification on the full-scale static test airframe later this month. As soon as we confirm the loads are being handled appropriately in the joint we will complete preflight activities on the airplane."
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Boeing, on Thursday afternoon, towed the first 747-8 Freighter out of the factory in Everett, Wash. The airplane, ultimately destined for Cargolux, will be painted and begin preparations for flight test. Boeing has secured 105 orders for the 747-8, 78 of which are orders for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the 747-8 Freighter.
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Progress M-MRM2 vehicle successfully docked to the ISS Zvezda`s transfer compartment zenith docking port today, on Nov. 12, at 18:41:42 Moscow time. Rendezvous and docking were carried out automentically, under control of the ISS RS crew and MCC ops personnel. The vehicle delivered Poisk module to the station. Also, about 750 kg of cargo needed for maintaining station functioning and crew support. Poisk will serve as an additional docking port for Soyuz and Progress spacecraft and as an airlock for spacewalks. The module will also provide extra space for scientific experiments, and power-supply outlets and data-transmission interfaces for two external scientific payloads to be developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences. The mass of the module is 4,000 kg. It has a diameter of 2.6 m and length of 4.6, providing 12.5 cubic meters of internal volume.
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Vought Aircraft Industries has taken possession of an F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter test article from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. and will perform full-scale drop testing on the aircraft in early 2010. The tests are being conducted to verify the strength of the F-35C Navy variant landing gear and airframe structure for carrier landing operations. Pre-test aircraft preparation includes the installation of special drop test fixtures, test systems and instrumentation on the aircraft. Actual drop testing is currently estimated to start in January and continue through April at the Vought Structures Test Lab here.
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The 1750th flight of a Soyuz launch vehicle was performed on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 17:22 Moscow time (15:22 Paris time). Arianespace and its Russian partners report that the Progress cargo spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit for another mission to the International Space Station. This was the eleventh Soyuz family mission in 2009. With the introduction of Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), this famed Russian medium-class launch vehicle will become an integral part of the European launch vehicle fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. To be offered to the commercial market, the Soyuz in French Guiana is Europe's reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.
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Sikorsky Aircraft and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) today announced the signing of an agreement creating a joint venture that will manufacture aerospace components for Sikorsky in India, including components for S-92 helicopter cabins. The joint venture agreement builds upon a long-term contract signed in June 2009 for TASL to assemble Sikorsky S-92 helicopter cabins.
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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved all Airbus A330 models for ETOPS (Extended-Range Operations for two-engined aircraft) “beyond 180 minutes”. This award makes the A330 the first aircraft type to receive such approval, either from EASA or the FAA. The new capability will be available as a customer-selectable option which extends the diversion distance potentially up to 1,700 nm. This distance corresponds to a maximum ETOPS diversion time for the A330 of approximately 240 minutes (at one-engine-inoperative speed under standard conditions). Operators with two-engined aircraft who choose this option will now be able to serve new routes which are presently not flown within the existing ETOPS rules (i.e. up to 180 minutes diversion time). For the A330, examples include new routes over South Atlantic Ocean, Mid- and South Pacific Ocean, and Mid-Indian Ocean. Operators flying on existing routes will benefit from the new regulation, since it will allow them to fly more directly and eco-efficiently. Some estimates show a fuel saving potential of up to 10 percent for some long range routes (with consequent reductions in CO2 emissions).
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FMV has delivered the Robot 98 or Iris-T, as it is known, to the Swedish Armed Forces. The robot will replace the current robot 74 for the Gripen aircraft. Iris-T is optimized in order to combat targets on very short distance from its own airplane and is a complement to the robots Amraam and Meteor, which are primarily intended to combat targets at long distances. Iris-T is a European collaboration between six countries: Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Norway and Sweden. Although the robot is designed for short shooting distance, so is the performance over long distances also very good. Compared to Robot 74 targets of much longer distance can be fought with Iris-T.
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