21.12.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 21 December 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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Bombardier Aerospace announced that the Bombardier Enhanced Vision System (BEVS) and Head-up Display (HUD) for the Challenger 605 jet has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification. BEVS provides pilots with significantly improved situational awareness and the ability to observe runway lights and the runway environment in difficult operating conditions, such as low visibility and or darkness. BEVS also enhances safety by helping to identify runway incursions. Operators selecting BEVS benefit from several advantages over other systems. The SureSight CMA-2600i InfraRed camera provides superior sensitivity and advanced processing of real-time images in darkness or low-visibility conditions. The camera's positioning on the upper portion of the aircraft nose places the BEVS directly in line with the pilot's visual reference point and makes cockpit views more natural. It provides images of the approach, runway lighting and of terrain scenery that are displayed on the pilot's head up display (HUD) and on the co-pilot's Multi Function Display, a head-down display that provides the same level of situational awareness for better communication during critical phases of flight.
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Boeing and Copa Airlines, Panama's flagship air carrier, announced an order for two more Next-Generation 737-800s, bringing to 15 the number of 737-800s the airline has ordered this year. The order is valued at $152 million at list prices. Including this order, the airline has 29 Next-Generation 737s remaining to be delivered. In July, Copa placed an order for 13 airplanes.
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On 14 December, Embraer's Phenom 300 light executive jet was certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which granted its Type Certificate following the same action by Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil – ANAC) on December 3. All design goals were met or surpassed, and first deliveries should begin in the coming weeks. The Phenom 300's maximum range, originally designed to be 1,800 nautical miles (3,334 kilometers), has been extended to 1,971 nautical miles (3,650 kilometers) with six occupants and NBAA IFR reserves. Powered by two fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535-E engines, the Phenom 300's fuel consumption is as much as 6% better than originally estimated.
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Hawker Beechcraft announced that it has received cancellation notices from NetJets for a significant number of aircraft previously contracted to be delivered over several years beginning in 2011. The impact of the cancellations will be to reduce the Company's current backlog by approximately $2.6 billion. HBAC has previously disclosed that NetJets, while a considerable source of backlog, was not expected to provide the Company any substantial revenue during 2009 or 2010 and has historically not represented more than 10 percent of the Company's annual revenue. The cancellations represent approximately 90 percent of the Company's previously contracted backlog with NetJets. After removing the cancelled NetJets orders from backlog and considering the anticipated sales and order activity for the fourth quarter, backlog is expected to be approximately $3.5 billion at December 31, 2009. The Company continues to expect depressed demand in the near term. Hawker Beechcraft Acquisition Company, LLC (“HBAC”) also announced that revenue for the fourth quarter of 2009 is expected to be approximately $1.1 billion, bringing estimated full-year 2009 revenue to approximately $3.2 billion. Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2009 is expected to be between approximately zero to a loss of $15 million, with full year 2009 operating loss estimated to be between $725 and $740 million.
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Sikorsky Military Systems and Elbit Systems have successfully completed the Armed Black Hawk (ABH) demonstrator program, proof-of concept for the development Battlehawk helicopter. The ABH demonstrator program recently concluded in Israel with an opportunity for Sikorsky customers from around the world to observe the aircraft up close. Sikorsky Test Pilot Bill Fell provided a tutorial of the ABH demonstrator cockpit while the aircraft was on static display. Following the cockpit demonstration, customers visited a local military testing range where they observed a live-firing demonstration. The demonstration flight was conducted by Fell and an Israeli Air Force pilot. The ABH demonstrator Flight Test program, which began in September 2008, was a cooperative effort between Sikorsky Aircraft and the government of Israel in conjunction with Elbit Systems Ltd., which is in charge of mission avionics and weapon systems integration. The program's purpose was to produce an armed demonstrator for evaluation by the Israeli Air Force.
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The Far East has moved a little closer to Bavaria: as of the start of the upcoming summer timetable, Singapore Airlines will be flying nonstop from Munich to Singapore five times a week. Beginning at the end of March the Boeing 777-300ER, originating in Manchester, will take off every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 13:35 and will land in Singapore the next day at 7:40 a.m.. The return flights will touch down in Munich early in the morning at 5:35 on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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At the Paris headquarters of the French space agency (CNES), Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight,and Thierry Duquesne, CNES Director for Strategy,Programmes and International Relations, signed an agreement that paves the way for the launch of a high-accuracy atomic clock to be attached to the outside of the European Columbus laboratory onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The PHARAO (Projet d'Horloge Atomique par Refroidissement d'Atomes en Orbite) atomic clock, which will be combined with another atomic clock, the Space Hydrogen Maser (SHM),to form ESA's Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES),will have an accuracy of 1x10-16,corresponding to a time error of about one second over 300 million years. This new generation of atomic clocks in space will be instrumental in enabling accurate testing of Einstein's theory of general relativity. In addition,it will contribute to the accuracy and long-term stability of global timescales, e.g. International Atomic Time (TAI) and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC),and also help in the development of applications in the field of geodesy,and support applications involving remote sensing via the GNSS network.
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During 2009 there has been a substantial increase in the amount of new contracts for aircraft systems, components and equipment placed with companies based in low-wage economies. According to a new report published by PMI Media Ltd “The growth of aircraft manufacturing in low-wage economies 2005-2009” during 2009 an estimated $9,212 million was spent with companies based in low wage economies of the world, representing 29.2% of the total market in new systems, components and equipment work, a very steep growth rate over the 6.2% share recorded in 2008. Most of this work takes place in the airliner sector, which is responsible for around 73% of the value of the total aviation supply chain, according to the study. “But the value of work won by companies in low-wage economies on European and North American aircraft programmes is worth approximately the same as the work won by Western suppliers on new aircraft programmes pioneered by companies in low-wage economies,” according to the report author Philip Butterworth-Hayes. The study, which analyses the global aircraft systems, structures and equipment market between 2005 and 2009,  suggests that North American and European manufacturers are retaining their technical and market dominance of supply chain integration but are accelerating the outsourcing and relocation of labour-intensive operations to low-wage economies. “There has been a rapid rise in the number of new manufacturing plants in China, Mexico and Malaysia,” according to Butterworth-Hayes. “These new plants – and other new manufacturing facilities in low-wage economies - accounted for over 30% of all systems, components and equipment contracts awarded on airliner programmes in 2009 and 27% of all rotorcraft business.” The study includes a sector-by-sector analysis of the market for airliners, rotorcraft, business aircraft, fast jets and military transports and a country-by-country analysis of aerospace manufacturing capabilities in low-wage economies. It lists all major aerospace manufacturing contract awards (2005-2009) for airliners, rotorcraft, business aircraft, fast jets and military transports, with details on values (where known), locations and technical/market implications.
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Bruno Gallard has been appointed EADS Brasil's Executive Director, replacing Eduardo Marson who has become Chairman of the EADS subsidiary's Board of Directors. Mr. Marson will remain President of Helibras - Helicópteros do Brasi SA - a position he has held since last June. Mr. Gallard, a graduate in Naval Architecture and Systems Engineering, has worked with EADS since 2006 and previously held the position of Marketing and Strategy Vice-President for Latin America. His presence will strengthen the links between EADS and Brazil in the field of industrial cooperation, as this has been the key role performed by the executive during his professional career.
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Northrop Grumman has successfully completed maritime sensor demonstrations using a company-owned MQ-8B Fire Scout tactical Vertical Unmanned Aircraft System (VUAS). Fire Scout was equipped with the Telephonics' radar and FLIR Electro Optical Infrared system, and highlighted the versatility of the unmanned helicopter's modular payload architecture and its flexibility in integrating off-the-shelf payloads. The demonstration was performed under a contract awarded in September by ABS Group, a Systems Engineering Technical Assistance (SETA) contractor for the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center. The test took take place during the week of October 19 in the Chesapeake Bay conducted from the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Md., Webster Outlying Field.
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EADS Defence & Security (DS) will equip Swiss military airfields with a new military approach control system to ensure flight safety in the dense air traffic of Central Europe and in particular over the mountainous terrain of Switzerland. As the company announced on Friday, Defence Electronics, an integrated activity of DS, has been awarded a contract by the Swiss procurement authority “armasuisse” for the installation of a total of five approach control systems at the military airfields of Payerne, Emmen, Meiringen, Sion and Locarno. This order has a value of more than 130 million euros and is to be completed by the end of 2016. The systems to be delivered under the designation “Military Approach Control System for Switzerland” (German acronym: “MALS Plus”) are intended to replace the obsolete radars previously used by the Swiss Armed Forces for military air traffic control. They will be used for approach control at the airfields themselves and also for air surveillance within a large radius to safely coordinate, amongst other things, military flight movements with civil air traffic.
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EADS has received the decision of the Sanctions Commission of the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers), regarding the charges initially notified by the AMF on 1 April 2008. EADS is pleased that the Sanctions Commission has decided to dismiss all charges, following the arguments and evidence presented by EADS and the other notified parties to refute the elements presented by the AMF investigators and the rapporteur. EADS is satisfied that the Sanctions Commision has recognised that EADS has complied with all applicable market information duties, in particular in respect of risks affecting the A380 programme and its development, and that there has been no breach of insider trading rules. EADS is confident that this point of view will also prevail in all other pending proceedings based on the same facts.
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The Airbus A320 Family Final Assembly Line China (FALC) has achieved its 2009 target as the 11th A320 Family aircraft assembled by the FALC was delivered to Deer Air, an airline part of the HNA Group, on 16th December in Tianjin. The first A320 assembled by the FALC was delivered to Sichuan Airlines via Dragon Aviation Leasing on 23rd June 2009. Since then, a total of six A320 and five A319 assembled by the FALC have been delivered and are now in operation with Sichuan Airlines, Deer Air, Shenzhen Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.
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Boeing and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence this week announced an agreement for the acquisition of a seventh C-17 Globemaster III for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Boeing is scheduled to deliver the aircraft in December 2010. "The RAF has an urgent need for additional airlift capability," said Robin Philip, Head of Commercial Air Support, UK Ministry of Defence. "We know firsthand the capabilities and reliability the C-17 brings to every mission, and that's why we're adding another one to our fleet." The current UK fleet of six C-17s has logged more than 50,000 flight hours to date. The newest C-17, like the others, will operate out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, and provide critical airlift capability.
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Bombardier Aerospace welcomed Andes Líneas Aéreas of Salta, Argentina as another South American airline to select the Bombardier CRJ900 jetliner as the best aircraft to suit its requirements. The airline has leased two previously owned 90-seat CRJ900 aircraft to expand its fleet and reach out to new markets for both its scheduled and charter services. Founded in 2006, Andes Líneas Aéreas currently operates three larger jetliners and flies to Salta, Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Jujuy, Córdoba and Puerto Iguazú. The airline also provides charter services, primarily to Brazil.
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On 18 December, an Ariane 5 GS launcher lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on a journey to place the French military reconnaissance satellite Helios-2B into Sun-synchronous polar orbit. Flight V193 was the seventh Ariane 5 launch of 2009 and used the last of the GS variant of the launcher. Liftoff of the 49th Ariane 5 mission took place at 17:26 CET/Paris (16:26 UTC; 13:26 French Guiana). The satellite was accurately injected into its target orbit about 59 minutes later. The payload mass for this launch was 5954 kg; the satellite mass was 4200 kg, with payload adapters and dispensers making up the additional 1754 kg. The Ariane 5's cryogenic, liquid-propellant main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, the solid-propellant boosters were also fired, and the vehicle lifted off a fraction of a second later. The Ariane 5 GS version uses the Vulcain 1 engine on its main stage, which has been replaced by Vulcain 2 on the two remaining versions of Ariane 5, ECA and ES. These two variants share a common lower composite consisting of the cryogenic main stage and the two solid rocket boosters. The Ariane 5 ES uses a re-ignitable storable propellant upper stage whereas the Ariane 5 ECA is equipped with a cryogenic upper stage.
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Ryanair confirmed that its quarterly Board meeting determined that its negotiations with Boeing for an order of up to 200 new B737-800 series aircraft for delivery during the period 2013-2016 cannot be successfully concluded prior to the end of the calendar year and accordingly the Board of Ryanair have confirmed that its negotiations with Boeing have terminated unsuccessfully. Ryanair confirmed that the breakdown of these negotiations will not effect its plans to take delivery of 112 B737-800 aircraft during the next 3 calendar years 2010 (48), 2011 (37) and 2012 (27), which will sustain Ryanair's strong traffic growth over the medium term. Ryanair will now bring forward plans to significantly reduce growth and capital expenditures, in order to maximise cash balances for distribution to shareholders during the period 2012-2015. 
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Ryanair confirmed that it will operate 10 Fuerteventura routes from March 2010 to/from Bournemouth, Brussels (Charleroi), Dublin, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Frankfurt (Hahn), Glasgow (Prestwick), Liverpool, Madrid, Milan (Bergamo) and Pisa. These routes will deliver 300,000 new passengers and create 300 new jobs at Fuerteventura. Ryanair also announced the extension of its Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife routes to its summer 2010 schedule after the local government confirmed that its airport discount scheme will continue until at least March 2012. Ryanair will operate 53 Canary Island routes this summer with 300 weekly flights delivering growth to tourism, jobs and the economy of the Canary Islands.
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Aerospace industry sales will increase in 2009 and 2010 demonstrating the strength of the U.S. aerospace industry in today's weak economy, AIA announced Wednesday at its 45th Year-end Review and Forecast Luncheon. “There are decreases in some aerospace categories,” said AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey, “however, our projection for continued overall sales growth is a solid barometer that the aerospace industry boosts trade and generates thousands of high-paying jobs across the country.” AIA is reporting total aerospace sales in 2009 will be slightly more than $214 billion, a record for the sixth straight year. Military aircraft leads the growth curve while civil aircraft, missiles and the space sectors also posted increases. While shipments continued to increase this year, orders and backlog are projected to drop, reflecting the continuing economic turmoil. AIA projects that sales growth will slow in 2011. “It's tough to see that sales line ease off, but we don't think the dip will be too deep or last too long,” said Blakey. “A game changer such as the Boeing 787 airliner, as well as pent up demand for environmentally-friendly and fuel efficient aircraft will reinvigorate the aerospace industry and drive demand for years to come.” “Bottom line,” said Blakey, “the aerospace industry is sound and able to absorb some punishment from the economy. Exports dipped 17 percent in 2009 and imports decreased 34 percent. However, the trade surplus remains a solid $54 billion, the largest of any manufacturing sector. Employment is forecast to drop two percent in 2009 to 641,100, the first decline since 2003. The employment decline is not nearly as severe as in other industries, Blakey noted. Aerospace employment fell by four percent from last year to the third quarter of 2009, while jobs in manufacturing overall dropped by 11.7 percent.
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Defence and security company Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) regarding spare parts for the current Gripen fleet. The order amounts to SEK 200 million. The order concerns spare parts including so-called "line replacement units", easily interchangeable modules that make it possible to correct faults in a workshop instead of in the aircraft on the ground. The units are part of an agreement to supply spare material for Gripen and includes Thailand, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
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The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, reported that passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers, fell 7 percent in November 2009 versus the same month in 2008. This marks the 13th consecutive month in which passenger revenue has declined from the prior year, fueled primarily by the 12th consecutive month of ticket price declines. Approximately 1 percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines(1) in November, while the average price to fly one mile fell 6.4 percent. Passenger revenue fell most sharply in trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific markets. "While it's good to see the number of passengers beginning to stabilize after several months of pronounced declines, revenue remains depressed. Hopefully this is an indication that a gradual recovery is underway," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. Also reflecting a weak global economy is the continued decline in cargo traffic. U.S. airlines(2) saw cargo revenue ton miles decline 1 percent year over year (3 percent domestically and 0 percent internationally) in October 2009, the 15th consecutive month of declining volumes. November 2009 cargo data is not yet available.
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Bell announced that Scott's Helicopter has assumed ownership of the Model 47 type certificate. Beginning in the first quarter of 2010 all aspects of commercial spares support, technical support and continued airworthiness for the FAA type certificated Bell 47 helicopter (H-1, 2H1 and 2H3) will become the responsibility of Scott's Helicopters, a Bell-approved Customer Service Facility (CSF) located in Le Sueur, Minn. Danny Maldonado, senior vice president and chief services officer at Bell, said, "This model really started the commercial helicopter business and Bell has a lot of heritage in the 47. However, we felt it was the best thing for our customers, and the 47, to transition ongoing support to Scott's Helicopter and we have every confidence that Scott's will continue to provide outstanding service and support."
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Boeing has successfully completed the first phase of flight test for a B-1 bomber upgraded with new digital avionics. The B-1 Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL) flight test plan for Phase 1 concluded Oct. 16; it included nine sorties performed by the U.S. Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base. "This upgrade replaces 25-year-old avionics processing, displays and keyboards," said Eric Vanderslice, B-1 FIDL program manager for Boeing. "Those old systems have very limited functionality. It also changes the configuration of the limited display space that helps the crew perform the aircraft's mission. We are going from bulky cathode-ray-tube screens to higher-functioning flat-panel displays, giving crews more situational awareness and more space." Phase 1 included observations of how the crew acclimated to the new configuration; temperature and vibration tests on the new hardware; and functionality tests of all the display-related software upgrades, including the new moving maps. An 8-inch by 10-inch flat-panel display shows a picture of the terrain below that changes as the aircraft moves, much like a GPS system does in a car. B-1 crews will enter their destination and flight path before departure in order for the moving map to provide a continuously updated display of the route.
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Aircastle Limited announced that it has placed six new Airbus A330-200 aircraft on long-term leases with South African Airways PTY LTD. ("SAA"). This is Aircastle's first lease with SAA, one of the leading airlines in the world. The six aircraft will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 772B engines and are scheduled to deliver during 2011.
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Textron announced that its Cessna business unit continues to see stabilization in the business jet market. Cessna management has observed that availability of used aircraft is declining, customer utilization of the existing fleet has stabilized, availability of financing is improving and customer inquiries for new orders are beginning to increase. At the same time, Cessna has continued efforts with customers to clarify the status of long-term orders remaining in backlog. The company has been in discussions with a large customer concerning the cancellation of about $1.1 billion of jets it had on order with Cessna. None of these aircraft were planned for delivery through 2012.
The company expects that cancellations in the fourth quarter will reduce backlog by a total of approximately $1.7 billion. These cancellations are not expected to have a material impact on planned deliveries through 2012.
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Lufthansa Technik and bmi have signed an agreement regarding services for more than 50 aircraft engines. According to the new five-year-contract, Lufthansa Technik will take care of all aspects of maintenance, repair and overhaul of the IAE V2500 engine type powering bmi's complete Airbus A320-series fleet. The first engine services are expected to be carried out around the end of the first quarter 2010. The German MRO-specialist's worldwide engine services network features two facilities with overhaul capabilities for the V2500 engine type, Lufthansa Technik's engine overhaul center in Hamburg and its Dublin-based subsidiary Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland (LTAI).
The new contract carries forward a long-lasting and successful relationship between Lufthansa Technik and bmi. The British airline has already awarded the base maintenance for their Airbus A320, A330 and Boeing 737 fleets to Lufthansa Technik. Additionally, Lufthansa Technik is also providing thrust reverser overhauls and parts pool access to bmi.
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Fokker Services has signed a Manufacturing License Agreement with Goodrich Corporation's Landing Gear business for the future manufacturing and supply of Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 main landing gear spare parts. Under the terms of this agreement Fokker Services B.V. has the exclusive rights to manufacture all the main landing gear parts for these out-of-production aircraft models. The parts manufactured under this agreement will be used to overhaul the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 main landing gear as well as to provide spare parts to Fokker operators.
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The UK Ministry of Defence will give a major boost to the military helicopter fleet with the provision of 22 new Chinook helicopters, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has announced today, Tuesday 15 December 2009. The first ten new Chinooks will start to roll off the production line in 2012 and be completed in 2013, increasing air support on the front line in Afghanistan. The Chinook fleet in total will increase in size from 48 to 70 airframes, which will include eight Mk3 Chinooks and replacements for two Chinooks lost on operations. This announcement is part of a new Future Helicopter Strategy that will deliver a 40 per cent increase in the number of lift helicopters available for use on operations in extreme conditions, such as those in Afghanistan. The RAF will fly the new Chinooks alongside the Merlins which arrived in Afghanistan last month.
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The S-76D helicopter program is entering production, signifying the latest major milestone in the program that is manufacturing the next generation model of the popular S-76 helicopter. The first S-76D helicopter airframe has entered production on the assembly line at Aero Vodochody (Aero) in the Czech Republic in preparation for the customer deliveries planned to begin in 2011. The first S-76D helicopter airframe – serial number 761004 – had its fuselage joined and then entered final assembly at Aero. The fuselage is scheduled to depart Aero in April 2010 for delivery to Sikorsky Global Helicopters facility in Coatesville, Penn., where final assembly and completion of the S-76D helicopters will take place. Sikorsky will receive S-76D helicopter fuselages at an initial rate of one per month, beginning with the first fuselage due in April 2010. Full S-76D helicopter production rates are expected to be achieved in 2011.
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AgustaWestland announced that Bristow Group has taken delivery of two AW139 medium twin-engine helicopters during an official ceremony held at its Philadelphia facility. These aircraft will be used to perform offshore transport missions, reinforcing the continued success of the AW139 in the oil & gas industry.
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The Air Transport Association of America announced that a core group of airlines has signed groundbreaking memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with two different producers - AltAir Fuels LLC and Rentech, Inc. - for a future supply of alternative aviation fuel. Twelve airlines from the United States, Canada, Germany and Mexico - Air Canada, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways - have signed MOUs with both producers. In addition, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines signed the MOU with AltAir Fuels, and Orlando-based AirTran Airways signed the MOU with Rentech. These alternative fuels will be more environmentally friendly, on a life cycle basis, than today's jet fuels. This domestically produced fuel will create jobs and bolster U.S. energy independence. "Today's announcement reinforces the proactive steps that airlines are taking to stimulate competition in the aviation fuel supply chain, contribute to the creation of green jobs, and promote energy security through economically viable alternatives that also demonstrate environmental benefits," said Glenn Tilton, ATA board chairman and UAL Corporation and United Airlines chairman, president and CEO. Tilton also noted that discussions with a number of additional alternative-fuel producers about other projects are underway, as are discussions with the U.S. military regarding other cooperative opportunities.
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NASA has purchased two reusable solid rocket motors from ATK Launch Systems Inc. of Brigham City, Utah, to provide a "launch on need" rescue capability for the final planned space shuttle mission, targeted for September 2010. The reusable solid rocket motors are the propellant-loaded sections of the solid rocket boosters that provide thrust for the first two minutes of a shuttle flight. The $64.6 million modification brings the total value of the contract, which was awarded in October 1998, to $4.1 billion and covers work started in February to produce and transport the two motors.
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NASA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) have signed a joint statement that allows for collaboration in lunar and asteroid science research. The partnership recognizes the Saudi Lunar and Near-Earth Object Science Center as an affiliate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The Saudi science center's proposal brings technical and engineering expertise to advance the broad goals of lunar science at the institute. Specific areas of lunar study of both scientific and cultural importance include radar and infrared imaging, laser ranging and imaging, and topographical studies. The center's studies in near-Earth object science also offer important contributions to an area of importance to NASA.
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Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 entered a new era in aviation as the MV-22 Osprey landed to begin the replacement of the CH-46 “Sea Knight” and its 44-year legacy. VMM-161 received its first Osprey Dec. 12 and is the first West Coast-based squadron to convert to the tilt-rotor platform. “We are all very excited and pleased to have it here and to begin training on it,” said Lt. Col. Jason T. Keefer, the squadron's executive officer. With the Osprey's arrival, VMM-161 began the transition from an aging fleet of medium-lift CH-46 “Sea Knights” to more operational aircraft as part of a Marine Corps-wide process.
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MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates has signed a $254 million dollar (US) contract to provide a communication satellite system to the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU). The financing for this project is provided by Export Development Canada (EDC). As Prime Contractor, MDA will build and launch a geostationary communications satellite and provide two satellite control centers and other associated ground infrastructure. The communications satellite will support direct broadcast television and high-speed Internet access to the country of Ukraine and surrounding areas. MDA and the Ukrainian Space Agency are finalizing specifications, and other requirements, over the next succeeding months.
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The final batch of Su-24M2 bombers was handed over to the Russian AF after repair and modernization at the V.P.Chkalov Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO) in Novosibirsk. Thus NAPO has fulfilled its obligations under 3-year state contract in the framework of the national defense order for 2009. The aircraft have already flown to the assigned air force base. NAPO undertakes repair and modernization of the Russian Air Force Su-24M frontline bombers. The modernized planes are equipped with new equipment and systems. As a result, they get new capabilities and improved combat efficiency.
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Sikorsky Global Helicopters announced that its Light Helicopters Division has delivered the first two S-434 helicopters to the Ministry of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (MOI). The two aircraft inaugurate the Saudi MOI light helicopter fleet, which will eventually total nine aircraft. The MOI deliveries are the first for the S-434 helicopter. The S-434 helicopters were manufactured at Sikorsky Global Helicopters Light Helicopter Division in Horseheads, N.Y. In addition to the S-434 helicopters, Sikorsky Global Helicopters is providing a complete logistical support package including spare parts, special tools, and training for pilots and mechanics. In-country support personnel will include a technical representative and instructor pilot. The S-434 helicopter model is a new version of the S-333 helicopter and incorporates many of the latest design and performance technologies developed with respect to light helicopters.
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