26.01.2009
FLUG REVUE

FRNews-20090126_News_in_Brief_2News update 26 January 2009 - News in brief 2

NEWS IN BRIEF<br /> Kurzmeldungen Part 2<br />

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NASA is concluding a series of flight tests to measure shock waves generated by an F-15 jet in an effort to validate computer models that could be used in designing quieter supersonic aircraft. The Lift and Nozzle Change Effects on Tail Shock, or Lancets, project embodies research aimed at enabling the development of commercial aircraft that can fly faster than the speed of sound without generating annoying sonic booms over land. Supersonic flight over land generally is prohibited because of annoyances caused by their noise.
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Kuwait based Airline Wataniya Airways, has taken delivery of its first leased A320 aircraft, and has become the newest Airbus operator. Wataniya Airways, founded in 2006, plans to take delivery of a total of seven leased A320s. In a standard two class configuration, the A320 can seat 180 passengers, however Wataniya's configuration is particularly spacious with just 122 seats. So far there are 222 A320 family aircraft operators worldwide, with Wataniya Airways becoming the 223rd. For all Airbus Family aircraft, Wataniya Airways becomes the 311th operator.
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Singapore Airlines has added a new Airbus type to its fleet with the delivery of its first A330-300. Acquired under a lease agreement with Dublin-based AWAS, the aircraft was handed over to the airline at a ceremony in Toulouse today attended by Mak Swee Wah, Executive Vice President Operations and Services, Singapore Airlines, Frank Pray, President and Chief Executive Officer of AWAS and Tom Enders, President and Chief Executive Officer, Airbus. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, the A330 fleet will be operated by the carrier on regional and medium haul routes, initially linking Singapore with destinations in Australia and Japan. The airline is configuring its A330s in a high comfort layout seating 285 passengers in two classes, with accommodation for 30 in Business Class and 255 in Economy.
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There is no discussion within EADS about a scenario to withdraw from the A400M programme, contrarily to what has been circulated in the press. Over 6,000 persons are presently working actively on the programme inside EADS, and there are ongoing discussions with OCCAR and the customer governments, the aim of which is to establish the right frame that will enable the best achievement of the progamme. This aircraft will be the best in its category, with outsanding specifications and no alternative programme in competition on the world market.
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United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at CCAFS at 9:47 p.m. EST today. This was the first Delta IV Heavy mission for the NRO. Designated NROL-26, the mission is in support of national defense. This was the third Delta IV Heavy launch in Delta program history. A Delta IV Heavy demonstration flight occurred in December 2004, and the first Air Force operational mission was launched in November 2007. "This first Delta IV Heavy launch for the NRO is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by the combined NRO, Air Force, supplier and ULA team," said Jim Sponnick, ULA Vice President, Delta Product Line. "We appreciate the support from our mission partners in achieving this milestone. ULA is pleased to contribute to our nation's security, and to continue our strong partnership with the NRO. We look forward to launching many more NRO missions on ULA's Delta IV Medium, Delta IV Heavy and Atlas V vehicles."
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Decisions about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor aircraft programs are expected early in President-elect Barack Obama's administration. The F-35 program manager said yesterday he sees strong support for the F-35 from the services, allied partners and, so far, on Capitol Hill. Based on initial indications and inquiries from Obama's transition team, Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles R. Davis said he's confident the F-35 program begun during the Clinton administration will continue, even if budget restraints force scale-backs. Davis made the comments here as keynote speaker at a Brookings Institution forum, “The Joint Strike Fighter and Beyond.” “Support throughout what appears to be three administrations has been relatively consistent,” he said. “As of yet, we see no reason that that support is going to change. There is nobody on Capitol Hill who has said they want to cancel the Joint Strike Fighter.” That doesn't mean, he acknowledged, that the program to develop the next-generation strike aircraft weapon system for the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and allied countries might not get scaled back. Davis conceded he gets many questions about the F-35's cost -- expected to be $80 million to $90 million, depending on the variant -- and delivery schedule. And if fewer aircraft are built, each will cost even more.
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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has decided to participate in development of the Rolls-Royce plc's Trent XWB aero-engine for the Airbus A350 XWB, which is expected to become Airbus's mainstay commercial aircraft. As a risk- and revenue-sharing partner (RRSP), MHI will be responsible for the development and manufacture of the components for the engine's combustion system and manufacture of low-pressure turbine blades and others. To date MHI has been in a cooperative relationship with Rolls-Royce through joint involvement in the V2500 engine program, and as an RRSP it has participated in Rolls-Royce's program to develop the Trent 1000, an engine earmarked for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
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With Dassault Aviation now a full-fledged player in unmanned aircraft, or drones, it's time to take a closer look at the nEUROn unmanned air combat vehicle (UCAV) program. On February 9, 2006, French defense procurement agency DGA, the program executive agency, named Dassault Aviation as prime contractor in charge of developing nEUROn, a European combat aircraft vehicle demonstrator. This signaled the active launch of the project. 85% of the total budget has now been awarded to Industry by [French procurement agency] DGA, which acts on behalf of the six Partner States (France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Greece and Switzerland). During the first half of 2008, all major nEUROn systems underwent design reviews with our industrial partners, thus ensuring overall program consistency. Interface design is almost complete, paving the way for more detailed work on the systems and airframe.
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Volvo Aero will initiate negotiations with the Trade Unions regarding redundancy of 250 blue-collar employees. At the same time, the company plans to reduce the number of white-collar positions by around 100 through natural wastage and a reduced number of consultants. “It is most difficult to be forced to make 250 of our employees redundant, but unfortunately there is no other alternative because we forecast a decline in the business,” says Staffan Zackrisson, President and CEO of Volvo Aero. The notifications apply to 250 blue-collar employees. There will also be reductions of at least 100 white collar positions through the company reducing the number of consultants and not replacing retirees.
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As announced on January 16, the Astra 5A satellite, formerly named Sirius 2 and operated by Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), experienced an abnormal event that led to a spacecraft attitude disturbance. Astra 5A was launched on November 12, 1997 by an Ariane rocket, and uses a Spacebus 3000 platform fitted with 32 Ku-band transponders. It was designed for a minimum lifetime of 12 years. The reconfiguration attempts which followed the incident could not restore the satellite into a stable sun-pointing attitude but consumed a significant amount of propellant and discharged the satellite's battery. This led SSC to declare the loss of the spacecraft's mission. The root cause of the incident as well as its possible connection to an incident in October 2008 are currently under investigation by an Inquiry Board. The technical teams of Thales Alenia Space, SSC and SES are tracking the satellite and are working closely to initiate any possible safety actions.
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SWISS will be gradually introducing a new First Class cabin from this spring onwards in parallel with its fleet renewal programme. The centrepiece of the new cabin product is the new SWISS First Seat, which offers exclusive design, top inflight comfort and extensive privacy and can be individually adjusted to travellers' specific wishes and needs. The new 'suite above the clouds' marks a further milestone in SWISS's ongoing quality drive. With its numerous settings and comprehensive adjustability, the new SWISS First Seat offers excellent inflight comfort that can be specifically tailored to each guest's individual preferences. The spacious surroundings and adjustable sidewalls provide extensive privacy, while sophisticated lighting and the contemporary-yet-warm SWISS design combine to create a pleasant sense of space. As a further bonus, the unique guest seat, complete with backrest and armrests, enables the First Class customer to dine or work with a fellow traveller at a generously-proportioned table.
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Austrian Chief Executive Officer Alfred Ötsch said the following about the annual result: “With 10.7 million passengers carried in total in 2008, we were facing a slight reduction compared to 2007. As a result of the global economic crisis, a downward trend set in during the final quarter of 2008 in particular – on top of the seasonal fluctuation in winter flight traffic – prompting us to make capacity adjustments. It can safely be assumed that the sharp drop in demand, which was noticeable in November and December, will continue in the months to come. A comparison of individual traffic regions shows that only the Focus East regions – Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East – were able to report passenger increases for the year as a whole. This confirms that we are on the right path with our strategy.” With around 8.2 million scheduled passengers in the short- and medium-haul segment, the Austrian Airlines Group reported a plus of 1.1% in the full year 2008 compared to the 2007 figure. The increase in passengers in the Focus East region, at 6.2%, was particularly sharp. While expanding its capacity in the short- and medium-haul segment by 3.2%, the company increased the revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) generated on these scheduled services by 3.1%. At 67.6%, the passenger load factor remained stable compared to the preceding year. In the long-haul scheduled services segment, some 1.2 million passengers were transported in the year 2008 as a whole. Due to the targeted long-haul redimensioning undertaken by the company, this figure was some 9.4% lower than that for the preceding year. Capacity was reduced by 12.2%, with revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) falling accordingly by 12.4%. As a result, it proved possible to keep the passenger load factor relatively stable, at 82.0%.  With an approximate total of 9.4 million passengers carried on scheduled services, the Austrian Airlines Group reported a slight reduction in volume of 0.3%. Viewed cumulatively, the level of scheduled capacity (ASK) was reduced in a targeted manner, by 4.7% compared to 2007. Accordingly, revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) fell by 5.6%. The resultant load factor fell by 0.7 percentage points, to 74.4%.
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that Malaysia's coast guard agency, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), has taken delivery of the first of two Bombardier 415MP amphibious aircraft ordered by the Malaysian government in June 2008. The Malaysian government is the launch customer in Asia for the specialized Bombardier 415MP aircraft. Present at an official ceremony held in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, was Datuk Seri Najib, Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia; Datuk Amdan, Director General, MMEA; and Mr. Michel Bourgeois, President, Specialized and Amphibious Aircraft, Bombardier Aerospace.
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Lockheed Martin has completed the first F-35 Lightning II equipped with mission systems, a milestone that will lead to the first avionics testing on board an F-35 aircraft. The short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35 variant left the factory on Wednesday, Jan. 21, and goes to the fuel facility for functional fuel system checks before it is scheduled for delivery to the flight line by the end of January. Its first flight is expected this summer. Mission systems, or avionics, are the on-board sensors that enable the aircraft to detect, locate, identify, track and target adversaries from long ranges; detect fast-moving incoming threats such as missiles; and receive and transmit large amounts of battle-space information through secure data links. These 5th generation sensors and data links will be integral to providing the warfighter in the air and on the ground a fused picture of the battlespace. "Testing of this aircraft will represent the fourth tier of our avionics validation process, comprising ground-based laboratory testing, airborne lab testing of individual sensors on surrogate aircraft, airborne testing of the fully integrated mission systems package on the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, and, finally, airborne testing of the integrated system on an actual F-35," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. The aircraft, called BF-4, will carry the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar and Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification suite, and the BAE Systems Electronic Warfare system. The Block 0.5 mission systems software, which incorporates more than half of the combat-ready Block 3 software, will drive the system. BF-4 will be updated with additional equipment and software through Block 3, the last block in the System Development and Demonstration program.
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