21.09.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 21 Sepember 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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Saab has been awarded an integration and production contract with an order value of MEURO 14 (approximately MSEK 137) for the BOL dispenser system from the Finnish Air Force (Air Force Command Finland, AFCOMFIN). The dispensers will be installed on the F-18 Hornet in Finland as part of the Hornet Mid Life Upgrade 2 (MLU2) Program to improve the aircraft’s Electronic Warfare Self Protection capability. Saab will begin to deliver the systems and services in 2009 and in essence be completed in the end of 2011.
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Raytheon began developmental testing of the U.S. Air Force's newest variant of the laser-guided Maverick missile, the AGM-65E2. The laser-guided Maverick missile is a direct-attack, air-to-ground precision munition used extensively by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in current combat operations. The AGM-65E2 employs the latest in digital semi-active laser sensor technology, which reduces the risk of collateral damage and enables aircraft to use onboard lasers to designate a target.
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The Management Board of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) welcomed a common position of EASA and the European Commission setting out priorities for the extension of the Agency’s responsibilities in the areas of Flight Crew Licensing, Air Operations and Third Country Operators (“first extension”) as well as in the field of Air Traffic Management/Navigation Services and Aerodromes (“second extension”). Taking into account the comments of airlines, pilots and other stakeholders in response to EASA’s consultation documents (“Notices of Proposed Amendments”), the joint position intends to amend and simplify the Agency’s initial proposals in a number of areas. “We have listened to our stakeholders and agreed on an approach which will allow for a smooth transition”, said Patrick Goudou, the Agency’s Executive Director at today’s Management Board meeting. “Our proposals will be based on existing legislation and safety standards”. Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director-General for Energy and Transport of the European Commission said: "Changes to existing rules will only be proposed if justified by safety considerations".
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Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI) completed the first guided test flights of the TALON Laser-Guided Rocket. The TALON LGR rounds hit a 1.5 meter (4.9 feet) square target during both tests, exceeding accuracy requirements at ranges of 3.7 km and 5 km (2.3 and 3.1 statute miles).The TALON LGR is an affordable, semi-active laser guidance and control kit that connects directly to the front of 2.75 inch unguided rockets currently in U.S. and international inventories. The TALON LGR program is part of a cooperative development agreement with EAI of the United Arab Emirates. The success of the guided flight tests will lead to live firings from the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter.
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The first production Nimrod MRA4 has made its maiden flight from the BAE Systems facility at Woodford in Cheshire. On September 10 the aircraft, designated PA04, flew a successful 1 hour 40 minute sortie during which it performed a variety of manoeuvres to test handling, and the operation of the engines and systems, before arriving at Norwich, where the aircraft will be painted in RAF livery. PA04 is the first of nine production standard aircraft that is to be built, and one of four that will be delivered to the MRA4s future main operating base at RAF Kinloss before the aircraft is formally declared in service at the end of next year. PA04 is the fourth MRA4 to fly, joining the three design and development aircraft that have contributed to the flight trials programme, providing the evidence for the formal Release to Service for the platform.
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London, United Kingdom: BAE Systems has joined forces with Cheshire-based Quest International UK to introduce a radical new active cabin air management system to the world’s airline industry. Named AirManager, it eliminates all airborne viruses and bacteria and will set a new standard for clean air on board passenger and cargo aircraft. Through its Regional Aircraft business, BAE Systems has engineered and obtained full European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the installation of the new system on its BAe 146/Avro RJ airliners. The Company has also signed an agreement with Quest International UK to act as authorised distributor for worldwide AirManager sales to airlines for an initial five-year period. Trials involving Boeing 757 airliners are already underway after BAE Systems designed and secured a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for use on this aircraft. STC designs for other aircraft types will be determined in line with market demand, with initial efforts expected to focus on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 airliners.
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Following a detailed review of its current and future business levels, BAE Systems has announced it has started consultation regarding the potential closure of one of its UK sites and job cuts at another three, with the loss of 1116 jobs. Under this programme: The Woodford site in Cheshire will close at the end of 2012, on completion of the Nimrod MRA4 production contract and with the loss of 630 jobs; 205 jobs will be lost at Samlesbury in Lancashire; 170 jobs will be lost at Warton in Lancashire; 111 jobs will be lost at Farnborough in Hampshire. It has been clear since 2003 that the Woodford site had little future beyond the end of Nimrod MRA4 production, and the workforce has been kept informed since that time. Despite strenuous efforts to achieve further Nimrod production work there has been none forthcoming.  It is intended that there will be a phased run-down of the site in line with the production programme.
At Samlesbury the potential job losses are in the manufacturing function and are associated with the end of Airbus work currently undertaken by BAE Systems for Spirit AeroSystems.
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SAS Scandinavian Airlines has remained its position as the most punctual airline amongst Europe's major carriers this summer. For June, July and August, 92.65% of all SAS flight arrived on time, thereby making it Europe's most reliable choice for getting to your destination on time. SAS' Norwegian subsidiary, regional airline Widerøe, also delivered impressive punctuality during the summer, ranking as Europe's forth most punctual airline in both June and July.
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Raytheon completed GBU-53/B datalink flight testing. This concludes all testing requirements for the company's Small Diameter Bomb II risk reduction program. Raytheon is competing for the U.S. Air Force's SDB II engineering manufacturing development contract, scheduled for award in 2010. Delivery of the first production rounds is planned for late 2013. During the test, engineers evaluated both the Link 16 and UHF modes of the datalink, verifying the weapon was capable of receiving in-flight target updates and transmitting weapon in-flight track messages. The updates were used in the tests to slew the GBU-53/B's form-factored seeker to target locations on the ground.
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Bombardier Aerospace celebrated the groundbreaking of the first CSeries aircraft building in Québec, Canada. Located at Mirabel, 45 minutes north of Montréal, the Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (CIASTA) is a testing and systems-proving facility that will house a virtual CSeries test aircraft. The CIASTA will test aircraft systems for reliability and functionality one year before the first prototype aircraft flies.
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Hawker Beechcraft  and Lockheed Martin have teamed to compete for the opportunity to provide a low-cost, low-risk solution to address U.S. Air Force (USAF) needs for a Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft. The USAF is expected to launch an acquisition program in fiscal year 2010. HBC, based in Wichita, Kan., will be prime contractor, and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY, will be the mission systems integrator for the AT-6 LAAR aircraft. The AT 6 will be a product of the combined heritage and expertise of the team, leveraging the existing worldwide fleet of Hawker Beechcraft T 6 aircraft that recently passed the one million flying hour milestone, with the proven missions systems integration expertise of Lockheed Martin
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NASA has concluded two weeks of technology development tests on two of the agency's prototype lunar rovers. The Desert RATS -- or Research and Technology Studies -- in the Arizona desert at Black Point Lava Flow allow NASA to analyze and refine technologies and procedures in extreme environments on Earth. The annual studies featured an intensive, simulated 14-day mission.
Two crew members, an astronaut and a geologist, lived for more than 300 hours inside NASA's prototype Lunar Electric Rover. The explorers scouted the area for features of geological interest, then donned spacesuits and conducted simulated moonwalks to collect samples. The crew also docked to a simulated habitat, drove the rover across difficult terrain, performed a rescue mission and made a four-day traverse across the lava.
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Boeing has completed delivery of the U.S. Air Force's first simulator for the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) to Little Rock Air Force Base. The Weapon System Trainer (WST) passed government acceptance testing and was declared "ready for use" on July 20. Boeing is scheduled to deliver a suite of trainers over the next several years to support the AMP training program at Little Rock. Each piece of training equipment offers a different level of instruction to train crew members in the operation of the new capability AMP will install in the aircraft.
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Boeing  kicked off a two-day conference with 140 potential partner and supplier companies in São Paulo, reaffirming its commitment to fulfill all of Brazil's requirements with its Super Hornet solution to the F-X2 fighter competition. "We are confident that our offer represents the best-value solution for Brazil, offering the most advanced technology, a proven superior logistics-support system and a price that is considerably lower than that of the Rafale," said Bob Gower, vice president of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Program. Competitors have been given until Sept. 18 to make further improvements to their offers, and Boeing is looking at all options. Boeing delivered an offer to the Brazilian Air Force in August that included full technology transfer. The offer also includes the option of Super Hornet co-production in Brazil and the sharing of technology that would allow Brazil to integrate its own weapons.
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Oman Air has taken delivery of its first A330-200, becoming the newest operator of the aircraft, enabling the carrier to introduce long haul flights for the first time. The aircraft was acquired under a lease agreement with Dublin-based AWAS. Oman Air placed an order for seven A330s in 2007, five of which were directly from Airbus. The airline will take delivery of a further 6 A330 family aircraft in the coming years.
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Honeywell announced that its SmartRunway and SmartLanding products, technologies developed to reduce runway accidents at crowded airports, have received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Standard Order (TSO) approval, allowing the company to deliver its runway products to customers for aircraft installation. Honeywell has the only runway safety products to be certified by the FAA for production. SmartRunway provides visual and aural alerts to pilots about runway and taxi locations and SmartLanding informs pilots of unstable approaches and long landings, when an aircraft lands too far down the runway to safely stop
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Aircell, the world's leading provider of airborne communications, announces that Dassault Falcon will offer the Aircell High Speed Internet system aboard its entire fleet of business jets, including the Falcon 7X, 900LX, 900EX, 900DX, 2000LX and 2000DX. It represents the first full-fleet selection of the system by a business aircraft manufacturer. The Aircell High Speed Internet system will allow Falcon passengers and crews to use their own Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, tablet PCs, smartphones and PDAs, to surf the Web, send and receive e-mail with attachments, access their corporate Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and much more - all at full mobile broadband speeds in flight. The Aircell High Speed Internet system is powered by the Aircell Network, which utilizes the latest 3G mobile wireless technology, operating in the continental U.S. over an advanced network of ground stations and Aircell's exclusive broadband air-to-ground spectrum.
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Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced that he has returned selection authority for the Air Force’s next aerial-refueling tanker to Air Force officials. The Air Force had awarded the contract for what’s known as the KC-X to a Northrop-Grumman/EADS/Airbus consortium, which prompted a protest from rival bidder Boeing. The General Accountability Office found irregularities in the awarding of the contract, and Gates re-opened the bidding process on July 9, 2008, appointing the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics as source-selection authority. Gates shelved the process two months later, however, telling Congress that rather than handing the next presidential administration “an incomplete and possibly contested process,” he had decided to defer the procurement decision to the administration that would be elected in November
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NASA has assigned the crew for the last scheduled space shuttle mission, targeted to launch in September 2010. The flight to the International Space Station will carry a pressurized logistics module to the station. Veteran shuttle commander and retired Air Force Col. Steven W. Lindsey will command the eight-day mission, designated STS-133. Air Force Col. Eric A. Boe will serve as the pilot; it will be his second flight as a shuttle pilot. Mission Specialists are shuttle mission veteran Air Force Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr., and long-duration spaceflight veterans Michael R. Barratt, Army Col. Timothy L. Kopra and Nicole P. Stott.
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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and French Space Agency President Yannick d'Escatha signed four agreements in support of U.S. and French space cooperation during a ceremony Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The French Space Agency has a long history of participating with NASA in Earth and space science missions," Bolden said. "I am pleased to see this cooperation expand as we look to further engage the international community in exploring space." The agreements involve missions in NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. They are: A Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission scheduled to launch in 2013. A Magnetospheric MultiScale mission scheduled to launch in 2014. This is a NASA-led, four spacecraft project. A Convection Rotation and Planetary Transits mission launched in December 2006. The project is led by CNES in conjunction with the European Space Agency and other international partners. A Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission for the study and definition of potential cooperation on this Earth Science Decadal Survey mission.
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Bell Helicopter announced that earlier this month the Bell Training Academy received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 147 Maintenance Training Organization Approval.  The Bell Helicopter Training Academy is approved to provide EASA B1.3 training on the Bell 427 (PWC PW207D).  Additional B1.3 and B2 courses will be added shortly. "As an EASA Part 147 Maintenance Training Organization, we can support our customers by providing required EASA-approved maintenance type training. This approval enhances our ability to deliver total training solutions to our customers’ worldwide.” said Tommy Hyde, quality manager for the Bell Helicopter Training Academy.
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NASA reported Thursday that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully completed its testing and calibration phase and entered its mapping orbit of the moon. The spacecraft already has made significant progress toward creating the most detailed atlas of the moon's south pole to date. Scientists released preliminary images and data from LRO's seven instruments. "The LRO mission already has begun to give us new data that will lead to a vastly improved atlas of the lunar south pole and advance our capability for human exploration and scientific benefit," said Richard Vondrak, LRO project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
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MHI Aerospace Vietnam Co., Ltd. (MHIVA) in Hanoi, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), has completed construction of a commercial aircraft component production plant and launched production of flaps for the Boeing Next-Generation 737. MHIVA is the first company in Vietnam to manufacture and ship aircraft components. The flaps shipped from the plant will be delivered to the Boeing plant in Renton, Wash. To celebrate the commercial produciton launch, a ceremony was held today at the Hanoi plant attended by many distinguished guests and parties concerned, including His Excellency Mitsuo Sakaba, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Vietnam; Ralph L. "Skip" Boyce, vice president of Boeing International and president of Boeing Southeast Asia; and Hideaki Omiya, president of MHI.
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Marine Corps aviation took the next step in battlefield capabilities, when a KC-130J “Super Hercules” from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 tested a new surveillance and weapons system, Aug. 29. Personnel from Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20, took off from Air Force Plant 42 on its first flight with the new “Harvest Hawk” mission kit. Since the introduction of the original C-130 more than 50 years ago, the Harvest Hawk mission kit program marks the first time the Marine Corps will have the capability to fly an armed Hercules into the fight. The $22 million mission kit provides Super Hercules aircrew first strike ability, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with a Hellfire weapons system and targeting sight system. The retrofitted KC-130J will use an AN/AAQ-30 Targeting Sight System located under the left wing’s external fuel tank to give the fire control operator eyes on target from more than several thousand feet away. Lockheed Martin equipped the aircraft with an AGM-114P Hellfire II weapons rack, in place of the left-hand aerial refueling pod, that can carry a maximum of four air-to-ground Hellfire missiles for close-air support.
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Stephan Gemkow, member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Lufthansa Cargo AG, Lufthansa Technik AG, LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG and Lufthansa Systems AG, respectively. Mr. Gemkow was elected by the Group companies' Supervisory Board members within the framework of the regular Supervisory Board meetings. The appointment of Mr. Gemkow to Supervisory Board Chairman for the respective Group companies represents a further organizational step in the redistribution of Executive Board remits at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. The process has been initiated in June 2009 and is intended to create the organizational requirements for the integration of further carriers into the Lufthansa airline group.
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The Czech Government has awarded research grants valued at about $4 million USD (70 million CZK) to GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. The grants will assist GE Aviation Czech in incorporating advanced technologies into its existing Walter M601 series engines to reshape the landscape of turboprop aviation. These research grants, awarded through the Czech Republic's Ministry of Industry and Trade, are the first grants ever received by GE Aviation from the Czech Government. Since its debut in 1975, the M601 turboprop engine family has amassed 17 million flight-hours on more than 30 aircraft types, marking a record of durability, reliability and ease of maintenance. GE Aviation Czech, in cooperation with the Czech Aeronautical Research and Test Institute, will use the grants to incorporate sophisticated technologies into a new derivative of the M601 engine. The new engine, the H80, will feature modern 3D aerodynamic design, advanced materials and new features, such as an axial compressor blisk, to reduce weight and parts count while significantly enhancing engine performance.
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ELTA Systems Ltd., a group and wholly owned subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has been awarded a contract to supply its self-protection systems, Flight Guard, for commercial planes in Israel. Contracts for various customers in Israel and abroad for the self-protection systems are estimated to be valued at tens of millions of dollars, over period of years. This is the only system to be tested and authorized by the Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA). ELTA has been developing, producing, and supplying aircraft self-protection systems for many years. In 2005, a version of "Flight Guard" was authorized by the ICAA, following two years of in-depth inspections, flight tests, and licensing examinations. With over 200 military, civilian, and VIP aircraft in more than 15 countries worldwide currently flying with the protection of the ELTA system, the operational efficiency of the system has been successfully proven. The system includes a Missile Approach Warning System, which rapidly scans for potential threats in the area surrounding the aircraft, and raises an alert only when it detects a direct threat to the aircraft.
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International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial satellite industry, successfully carried the Nimiq 5 satellite into orbit on 18 September on an ILS Proton for Telesat, the fourth largest fixed satellite services operator worldwide. This was the fifth commercial mission of the year for ILS and the seventh successful Proton launch of 2009. With the launch of Nimiq 5 today, ILS has launched half of Telesat’s operational fleet. The ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:19 am today local time (19:19 GMT, 12:19 PDT; 15:19 EDT, September 17). After a 9 hour 15 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the Nimiq 5 satellite, weighing almost 5 tons, into geostationary transfer orbit. This was the 348th launch for the Proton. Telesat’s Nimiq 5, built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), will be located at 72.7 degrees West. The satellite will provide coverage of North America and supports growing demand for direct-to-home television services. This is the fifth SS/L-built satellite in Telesat's global fleet. It is based on the SS/L 1300 platform and is designed for a lifespan of more than 15 years.
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