FRNews-20090126_News_in_Brief_1News update 26 January 2009 - News in Brief 1

NEWS IN BRIEF<br /> Kurzmeldungen - Part 1<br />

During a test flight the Gripen Demo aircraft proved its ability to “Supercruise”, the ability to fly supersonic without the use of afterburner which results in fuel savings and an increase in range. Saab test pilot Magnus Ljungdahl flew the Gripen Demonstrator aircraft in supercruise. “The flight was conducted over the Baltic Sea, my altitude was 28, 000 feet and the speed achieved was above Mach 1.2. Without using afterburner I maintained the same speed until I ran out of test area and had to head back to the Saab Test Flight Centre in Linköping.” “To show potential customers that Gripen can supercruise is an important milestone”, said Gripen International Marketing Director Bob Kemp, “and to perform this activity only nine months after the Gripen Demonstrator was shown in public for the first time, is something that few, if any aircraft can beat.”
Med-Trans Corporation has announced that their entire fleet of air medical helicopters under their operator's certificate has been outfitted with state-of-the-art night vision goggle (NVG) technology. This proclaims an ongoing commitment to their partners as well as employees, continuing to focus on safety and patient care as the first and foremost objective. Fred Buttrell, President & Chief Executive Officer for Med-Trans stated, “the safety of our patients and our crewmembers is always our number one priority. Outfitting our entire fleet with the most advanced technology on the market today is another step in working towards that goal. The NVG technology ties in well with the other safety equipment aboard our aircraft, such as: enhanced vision systems, radar altimeters, GPS navigation, satellite tracking, terrain alert warning system (TAWS) and traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS). Our enhanced crew and safety management systems have also become a part of our everyday flight operations.”
The first RBS15 Mk3 heavy anti-ship missile was assembled and tested in December 2008 at the Maasberg premises of Diehl BGT Defence in Germany. This is the very first RBS15 missile round, which has been built outside Sweden in order to verify the production process. An agreement between Diehl BGT Defence and Saab Bofors Dynamics on the joint development, production and marketing of RBS15 Mk3 envisages the assembly of all missiles for worldwide demand by Diehl. It is planned to equip all German K130 class corvettes with this missile system in the course of 2009. Germany, Poland and Sweden have decided to introduce RBS15 Mk3. Currently negotiations are being conducted with additional interested countries. Independently of who is the prime contractor, the work share between the companies remains unchanged.
An A330 MRTT built for the Royal Australian Air Force completed another major program milestone when the A310 Boom demonstrator, used as test bed for the new EADS fly-by-wire boom, made a series of contacts during a flight test over waters off the coast of southwest Spain. Both aircraft departed from EADS facilities in Getafe, Madrid, where Airbus Military has the tanker conversion centre. The A330 MRTT is equipped with two wing-tip mounted 'hose-and-drogue' refuelling pods, an advanced aerial refuelling boom in the tail, as well as complete capabilities in Military Navigation, Military Identification, MIL-COMs including a Tactical Data Link and Defensive Countermeasures equipment. "This flight test represents a significant milestone in the program, as it is the first time that a contact between two different tankers developed on Airbus platforms has been performed" said Carlos Suarez, CEO of Airbus Military. "We are very pleased about the progress of the final test phase that commenced in December 2008 and look forward to completing the flight test program that will lead to final military certification and qualifica-tion."
San Diego-based General Atomics (GA) was awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop scalable processes for the cost-effective large-scale production of algae triglyceride oil and an algae-derived JP-8 jet fuel surrogate. The contract has a total value of up to $43M if all phases of the development program are completed. GA will lead a team of university and industrial partners that will examine all aspects of the algae to JP-8 production process. From a technical perspective, algae oil can be produced and converted to JP-8. The goal of this 36 month program is to reduce the cost of doing so to a level that will offer DOD an affordable, reliable long term supply of JP-8. This will involve identifying key cost drivers and investigating multiple approaches to increasing productivity and reducing operating and/or capital costs. The program will address algae selection and growth; water, carbon dioxide and nutrient supply; algae harvesting; oil extraction; and conversion to JP-8 - all in the context of an overall JP-8 life-cycle cost model. The contract will conclude with a pre-pilot scale demonstration.
Resplendent in its new design, Lufthansa's expanded and modernised lounge at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport opened its doors to guests these days. Covering a floor area of almost 1,500 square metres on three levels, the new facilities provide twice as much space for Lufthansa's premium customers as the original lounge before refurbishment. The highlight is the new First Class area for HON Circle members and First Class passengers. The new First Class area is located on the third level and is the first of its kind outside the Lufthansa and SWISS hubs at Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich. In this exclusive atmosphere, First Class travellers and HON Circle members find all the amenities they need in order to refresh themselves and unwind – or they can simply sit back and be spoilt by the attentive staff.
CAE announced a series of military contracts valued at more than C$80 million. Key customers include the United States Navy and Army, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NATO, as well as the German defence procurement agency. The United States Navy exercised a contract option for CAE USA to design and manufacture another MH-60S operational flight trainer (OFT). The MH-60S OFT will be the seventh that CAE is now under contract to deliver to the Navy. The U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) has exercised a contract option for CAE USA to continue development and services as part of the Synthetic Environment Core (SE Core) program. Under this program, CAE USA's Professional Services organization operates a rapid database production facility in Orlando, Florida for the U.S. Army. CAE has been awarded a contract from The Boeing Company to manufacture an Engineering Flight Simulator (EFS) to be used in the development of the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. Lockheed Martin has exercised annual contract options for CAE USA to continue providing training support services as part of the U.S. Air Force's C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System program and C-130E/H Aircrew Training System program. The NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Program Management Agency (NAPMA) have contracted CAE to design and manufacture an E-3A flight training device (FTD). CAE will deliver the E-3A FTD to the NATO main operating base in Geilenkirchen, Germany in 2010, where it will be used alongside the CAE-built E-3A flight deck simulator for training NATO E-3A aircrews. The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) have contracted CAE, in partnership with Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, to upgrade one of the EC135 full-flight simulators located at the German Army Aviation School at Buckeburg. As part of this upgrade, CAE will provide its CAE Medallion-6000 image generator and support the integration of the CAE-developed common database (CDB), an open standard database architecture. Germany's procurement office BWB (Bundesamt fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung) has contracted CAE to provide a range of on-site maintenance support and logistics services for flight simulation equipment. CAE's annual maintenance and logistics support contracts with the German Armed Forces cover a range of flight simulators, including Tornado multi-role-combat aircraft, as well as helicopters such as the CH-53, UH-1 and EC135.
ATK has received a $55 million Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract from the U.S. Navy for the advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM). The contract is for missiles, containers, spares, support/special test equipment, and required production transition activities. The contract provides for AARGM deliveries of sufficient quantity to meet the U.S. Navy's Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2010. Under terms of the contract, ATK will provide the weapon systems for use on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18C/D aircraft. ATK collaboratively developed AARGM with the U.S. Navy and Italian Air Force AARGM Integrated Product Team, led by the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office (PMA-242). The AARGM team also includes members from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division - China Lake, Calif., the Naval Air Systems Command - Patuxent River, Maryland, and multiple industry partners.
The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and Universal Space Network (USN) have reached an agreement in which SSC will acquire all the shares of US-based USN. The two companies have been working in close cooperation for the last ten years, providing satellite owners with access to a cohesive network of ground stations that provide near-global coverage of any spacecraft orbit. PrioraNet, the trademarked name of this worldwide satellite tracking service, has successfully supported civil space, commercial and public missions since 1999. "This further enhances our collective ability to provide satellite owners and operators with a one-stop shop for global telemetry, tracking, command and data services. With this integration of these two leading businesses, PrioraNet becomes the largest commercial service for satellite operations and communications," says Mr. Lars Persson, President and CEO of the Swedish Space Corporation.
GKN Aerospace has delivered the 50th full aircraft set in a $72m contract with Airbus to supply composite parts for the A330 and A340-300 wing outer landing flap.   This contract, which commenced manufacture in January 2008, increases GKN Aerospace's already extensive work scope on each airframe, and places the Company as the supplier of the composite landing flap components for the complete Airbus Long Range family - which is ramping up to a combined rate of over 90 aircraft sets per year. This delivery has involved the supply of over 150 outer wing flap components per aircraft set, including the single piece 11m long composite skin panels.  All parts have been designed and manufactured at the Company's facility in Munich, where the engineering responsibility for the parts is held.  They are then delivered to Airbus in Bremen where they are assembled into the complete landing flap.  The contract followed an agreement with the Munich facility to supply the same set of parts for the A340-500/600 an ongoing contract that was gained in January 1999 since when the Munich team has demonstrated strong and consistent performance.  The GKN Aerospace Munich facility employs a high level of automation in the manufacturing process of this work package.  Automated tape laying (ATL) is used to lay up the ply books of composite tape used in each part.  The latest ATL machinery has been shown to be capable of laying tape at 10 times the manual rate whilst producing a more consistent end product and significantly reducing material wastage.  
Aurora Flight Sciences announced that it has been selected by Sikorsky Aircraft to manufacture the engine nacelles for the latest-generation heavy-lift military helicopter, the CH-53K that Sikorsky is developing for the U.S. Marine Corps. The Engine Nacelles' assembly is one of the major propulsion sections and houses the CH-53K's No. 1 and 3 engines. Made primarily of composite and titanium materials, the Nacelle will be fabricated by Aurora Flight Sciences of West Virginia and shipped to Sikorsky for integration into the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter.
Southwest Airlines reported full year 2008 net income of $178 million, or $.24 per diluted share, compared to $645 million, or $.84 per diluted share, for full year 2007. Excluding special items, full year 2008 net income was $294 million, or $.40 per diluted share, compared to $471 million, or $.61 per diluted share, for full year 2007. Results for 2008 included $1.3 billion of fuel hedging cash settlement gains. Refer to the reconciliation in the accompanying tables for further information regarding special items. Including special charges totaling $117 million (net), relating to noncash, mark-to-market and other items associated with a portion of the Company's future fuel hedge portfolio required by Statement of Financial Accounting Standard (SFAS) 133, "Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities," as amended, fourth quarter 2008 net loss was $56 million, or $.08 loss per diluted share compared to net income of $111 million, or $.15 per diluted share, for fourth quarter 2007. Excluding these special charges and other items, fourth quarter 2008 net income was $61 million, or $.08 per diluted share, compared to $87 million, or $.12 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2007. The fourth quarter 2008 results, excluding special items, of $.08 per diluted share exceeded Thomson's First Call's mean estimate of $.05. Gary C. Kelly, CEO, stated: "We are very proud to report another profitable year in one of the most difficult years in aviation's 100-year-plus history. We certainly had our challenges in 2008, but thanks to the extraordinary efforts and Warrior Spirit of our People, we persevered to report our 36th consecutive year of profitability.
Aer Lingus and United Airlines (UAUA) announced an innovative extension of their relationship on select long haul services between Europe and North America. This partnership will capitalize on the growth opportunities presented by the Open Skies agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) by opening new transatlantic non-stop services. The partners will launch service between Washington Dulles and Madrid, which will be available for sale from April 2009, and will commence daily operations from March 2010. It is anticipated that additional routes may be made available for sale during 2010 to commence operation in Summer 2011. It is intended that both carriers will equally share the commercial and operating benefits and risk, with Aer Lingus managing the operational aspects of the new partnership services and United Airlines taking responsibility for managing revenue generation. The Partnership route structure will be operated and sold under both Aer Lingus and United Airlines codes and will leverage both parties' network capabilities.

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