2008-09-01 - News in briefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Deutsche Lufthansa AG and SN Airholding SA/NV, the parent company of Brussels Airlines, are in constructive negotiations over an equity investment in SN Airholding. The intention of the negotiations is a collaboration with Brussels Airlines as self-dependently operating airline within the Lufthansa affiliated group.

Brussels Airlines has not been involved in an alliance to date. It operates services from the Brussels hub within Europe and also specialises in flights to Africa. Lufthansa plans to initially acquire 45 per cent of SN Airholding at a proposed price of EUR 65m in the course of a capital increase. After two years and beyond Lufthansa would be authorised to exercise an acquisition option for the remaining 55 per cent. The price of this option is linked to the prospective performance of Brussels Airlines. Over the next few weeks, Lufthansa intends to examine SN Airholding and conclude negotiations as to the contractual details. The planned equity investment in SN Airholding is yet to be approved by the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa, the Board and shareholders of SN Airholding and the antitrust clearance.
Hawker Beechcraft delivered its Hawker 4000 super-midsized business jet to customer Jack P. DeBoer during a special ceremony at the company's Customer Delivery Center in Wichita, Kan. The Hawker 4000 ushers in a new era for general aviation, as it is first in its class, first in the world and the most advanced business jet in the world based on its innovative composite construction.
Lockheed Martin, under HELLFIRE Services Limited Liability Company (HSLLC), will produce additional combat-proven HELLFIRE II precision-strike, laser-guided air-to-ground missiles forU.S. and international armed forces under a $357 million contract with the U.S. Army.  Delivery of missiles produced under this contract will begin in 2010. The contract also provides options for major additional orders in 2009 and 2010.  If exercised, the options will sustain full-rate production through 2013 in Lockheed Martin's Troy, AL, and Ocala, FL, facilities. Options also include more than 200 training missiles and up to 1,200 missile variant conversions.
Boeing claims that it has been awarded a five-year U.S. Army contract valued at $4.3 billion for 181 CH-47F Chinooks and 10 additional Chinooks under Fiscal Year 2008 supplemental funding. There are options in the award for an additional 24 aircraft over the course of the contract. "This multiyear award will yield a cost savings of more than $449 million for the U.S. Army and taxpayers," said Jack Dougherty, vice president, Boeing H-47 Programs. "This also builds security into our production schedule for the next five years, stabilizing the work force for Boeing and for our supplier partners in more than 45 states."  Boeing Rotorcraft Systems has delivered 48 CH-47F helicopters to the U.S. Army to date and has fully trained and equipped two units, with a third unit scheduled to stand up in August. Since the aircraft received its combat-ready certification from the Army in 2007, the F-model has completed several thousand flight hours, including deployments to Liberia in support of U.S. President George Bush, and is currently undergoing its first deployment to Iraq.
On August 27, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior announced its decision in Munich to purchase eight new Eurocopter EC135 P2i helicopters for the Bavarian Police Helicopter Squadron. This will enable the squadron to carry out its work using helicopters of the latest generation. Fitted out with state-of-the-art police equipment, the EC135s are slated for delivery between September 2009 and April 2010. The EC135's police-specific equipment includes a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) camera, a high-resolution digital day and night vision camera, SatCOM, GPS, a digital map device, Tetra digital radio, the FLARM collision warning system, a tactical direction finder, a digital flight management system and a GSM telephone. Suitable for operation under IFR (instrument flight rules), the helicopters are fitted with glass cockpits approved for operations with night vision goggles. A rescue hoist, an external load hook system and four rescue winches are also part of the contract. The winches can be installed on each of the eight helicopters as and when required. The contract signed with the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior includes a letter of intent for power-by-the-hour service over a period of at least ten years. "In view of the ever-growing demands on police work," says interior minister Joachim Herrmann, "we are making this new purchase to provide our police helicopter squadron with the latest machines including customized police equipment. In the 1970s, police helicopters were used only for traffic monitoring. Since then, they have adopted a variety of other tasks, including crime fighting, missing-persons searches, support in disaster relief missions, and the handling of special traffic and mission situations. Our police helicopter squadron is in service 24 hours a day and requires the best equipment available to support its work."
Korean Telecom Corporation (KT Corporation) has chosen Arianespace to launch its next communications satellite, Koreasat 6. Koreasat 6 will be boosted into geostationary transfer orbit by an Ariane 5 or Soyuz launcher from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport, French Guiana, during the second half of 2010. Koreasat 6 is the second satellite to be launched by Arianespace for the Korean operator, following Koreasat 3, orbited in 1999. Arianespace has another Korean satellite on its launch manifest, COMS-1, a multimission satellite for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
Two of Australia's leading defence and aerospace companies, Australian Aerospace and Thales Australia, have signed an important agreement to provide Through Life Support (TLS) for the Australian Army's new fleet of Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARH). It is one of several key subcontracts to be awarded by Australian Aerospace, the prime contractor for the Tiger program, in the establishment of a comprehensive TLS arrangement for the ARH Tiger fleet in Australia. The first three (out of 22) ARH Tigers to enter service recently deployed to Darwin as the nucleus of two new squadrons - 161st and 162nd - of the Army's Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Regiment.
NASA's Mars Exploration rover Opportunity is heading back out to the Red Planet's surrounding plains nearly a year after descending into a large Martian crater to examine exposed ancient rock layers. "We've done everything we entered Victoria Crater to do and more," said Bruce Banerdt, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Banerdt is project scientist for Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit. Having completed its job in the crater, Opportunity is now preparing to inspect loose cobbles on the plains. Some of these rocks, approximately fist-size and larger, were thrown long distances when objects hitting Mars blasted craters deeper than Victoria into the Red Planet. Opportunity has driven past scores of cobbles but examined only a few.
Boeing  and the U.S. Navy delivered a proposal Aug. 15 offering the advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Royal Danish Air Force as part of Denmark's New Combat Aircraft competition. Boeing received a Request for Information from Denmark in May. The stated initial requirement is for 48 aircraft. "The winner must present a good balance of capability, cost and risk, and be able to provide Danish industry with a viable and competitive long-term partnership," said Dan Korte, vice president and general manager for Global Strike Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "We believe the Super Hornet is the best-value option and offers a winning solution for Denmark's fighter requirements." The Super Hornet variant offered to Denmark is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the U.S. Navy and the 24 F/A-18Fs currently being produced for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Block II Super Hornet is the first operationally deployed strike fighter incorporating next-generation capabilities, including the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
Aviall Services announced that it has entered into an agreement with Pratt & Whitney Commercial Engine Group for exclusive global distribution rights for new parts for non-military JT9D 7/7Q/7R series turbofan engines. Per terms of the agreement, the contract extends for the life of the engine program and Aviall will assume distributorship of the JT9D new engine parts following a formal transition period, estimated to last about six months. "We welcome the opportunity to provide exemplary service to Pratt & Whitney and the customers of this major brand of aircraft engine," said Dan P. Komnenovich, president and COO of Aviall Services. "This program provides us the opportunity to, once again, integrate our unique aftermarket services to successfully distribute a major OEM platform."
Boeing and EgyptAir announced an order for two 777-300ER (Extended Range) jetliners as part of the airline's twin-aisle fleet upgrade for its long-haul service. The order, which is worth $529 million at current list prices, previously was attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries Web site.
Lockheed Martin announced that the U.S. Air Force has certified readiness for dedicated operational utility evaluation and trial period operations of the first Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO-1) payload and associated ground system in preparation for use by the warfighter. SBIRS is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness. Announced to be on-orbit in Nov. 2006, the HEO-1 payload has been exceeding expectations during an extensive on-orbit test regimen necessary before beginning on-orbit operations for the user. "The HEO system's outstanding performance and reliability is a true testament to the dedication, skill and operational excellence of our entire SBIRS team," said Col Roger Teague, the U.S. Air Force's SBIRS Wing Commander. "We look forward to successfully executing the next step's necessary to making this critical national asset operational for the warfighter this year." As part of the operational utility evaluation, the system will enter trial period operations in which for the first time, live HEO data will be injected into the warfighters operational networks providing critical warning and intelligence data. This will culminate with United States Strategic Command's final certification of the HEO-1 payload and ground processing elements later this year when the HEO sensor and its data will be declared operationally proven and accepted.
Germany´s ADAC have completed the ground-breaking ceremony for their new HEMS Academy.  The organisation expects that this new training center will set new standards in education and training in helicopter aviation.  The HEMS Academy will be the world's first integrated training centre for helicopter pilots, doctors and assistants in emergency air rescue service. You will get all three professional groups the first time in a specially-tenes they cut training. For pilot training, there are two full flight simulators (FFS Level B to JAR-FSTD H) model helicopter EC 135 and EC 145 available. For training of doctors and rescue assistants, a medical simulator ( "Christoph Sim") with extensive equipment for use. The EHSM Academy will be in St Augustin near the Cologne-Bonn international airport.  The training centre includes a simulation hall, as well as training and briefing rooms equipped with the latest media technology and opportunities for individual (computer-based training) and group lessons.
The economic affairs ministry of the Netherlands has extended negotiations it is conducting with the Dutch defence industry on their contribution from sales achieved from the participation in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven wants the defence industry to pay her 10.3 percent of their JSF turnover. The industry however does not want to contribute anything at all. Negotiations are currently underway on the definitive size of industry's contribution. The talks were to have been concluded at end-August. An economic affairs ministry spokeswoman has confirmed that this has been extended to mid-September. The government decided in 2002 to contribute to the financing of the US fighter aircraft JSF. This was intended to generate contracts for Dutch industry. At the time, it was already established that industry would have to contribute a still-to-be-fixed percentage from the JSF orders. NIFAR, the organisation of the companies with JSF orders, is supported by Lockheed Martin in its plea for a lower contribution. The US builder of the JSF has warned that a high contribution could endanger the JSF orders. Given inadequate margins for the industry, the execution of the orders would become too uncertain for the US government.
Bahrain Air, the Premium service carrier with affordable fares, a private national carrier based in Bahrain, signed yesterday the Letter of Intent (LOI) with Airbus for acquiring up to 6 Airbus A320 aircraft, whereby increasing the company's fleet size to 11. With the addition of these aircraft Bahrain Air will be able to consolidate its position and extend its network to several new destinations. Bahrain Air currently operates to 10 destinations throughout the GCC, the Middle East, North Africa, the Levant, Iran & India.
Airmen employed a Guided Bomb Unit-54 laser Joint Directed Attack munition Aug. 12 against a moving enemy vehicle in the Diyala province to support a combined Iraqi army and U.S. Marine operation. The GBU-54 is the Air Force's newest 500-pound precision weapon, equipped with a special targeting system that uses a combination of Global Positioning System and laser guidance to accurately engage and destroy moving targets. F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed the munitions. "This employment first represents a great step in our Air Force's ability to deliver precise effects across the spectrum of combat," said Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, the U.S. Air Forces Central commander and U.S. Central Commands Combined Force Air Component commander. "The first combat employment of this weapon is the validation of the exacting hard work of an entire team of professionals who developed, tested and fielded this weapon on an extremely short timeline, based on an urgent needs request we established in the combat zone." Identified as an urgent operational need in early 2007, the Air Force completed the GBU-54's development and testing cycle in less than 17 months, fielding it aboard 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing aircraft in May.

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