BAE already derives 34 percent of its revenues from North America, where 27,000 employees produce an annual turnover of $5.6 billion. Of equal significance, the return on sales is 8.4 percent–the highest figure in all of BAE. The group’s CEO, Mike Turner, is fond of reminding UK and European government officials that the conditions for technology investment are so much more favorable to BAE on the other side of the Atlantic.
Paris Air Show » June 13, 2005
The Rochester, UK facility of BAE Systems has developed the world’s first control stick that tells a pilot, through feel, that the airplane is exceeding the design envelope. The stick provides discernably greater resistance when the pilot moves it beyond the limits by the aircraft’s flight control software.
BAE Systems Platform Solutions claims leadership in developing a multispectral enhanced vision system that allows pilots to land in zero-zero visibility. A unique, integrated processing architecture interfaces with multiple sensors to tile, stitch and fuse the information into a coherent, intuitive picture on a head-up or head-down display in the cockpit, or even on a pilot’s helmet-mounted display.
BAE Systems has all but abandoned Europe. The British defense conglomerate is putting its money into North America, where the budgets are large and the risks are low. But the U.S. government has imposed major bureaucratic controls on all foreign entities that seek to share defense technology. So can BAE ever become a truly integrated transatlantic company?
Some 20 new aircraft, including the world’s largest–such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777-200 Long Range–are among the 200 types on display here, making the Paris Air Show an exceptional showcase of flying hardware. Also making their first appearances are the Dassault Falcon 7X and Gulfstream G450 and G550 business jets, Embraer’s new 195 regional aircraft and Kazan Helicopters’ Mi-38.
An optimistic Louis Le Portz flashed a broad smile as he contemplated the opening of this week’s Le Bourget salon just a few weeks prior to the event. He knows that his first stab as commissaire général, or commissioner, of the biennial Paris Air Show marks a recovery from four gloomy years of aerospace industry decline and a return to something resembling the conditions exhibitors enjoyed prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bell Helicopter Textron’s vision for a brand-new line of rotorcraft known as the modular affordable product line (MAPL) has sharpened further now that a powerplant design advertised to meet its lofty efficiency requirement is appearing on the horizon.
At the start of last year, GIFAS merged with GITEP, an association of French defense and security electronics firms, bringing its total membership to 234 companies, including 199 equipment makers. The aerospace sector companies together employed 118,000 people in France–half a percent down on 2003. When the figures included the GITEP workforce, the total was 129,800.
In his swan song as the outgoing chairman of French aerospace industry association GIFAS last month, Philippe Camus called 2004 a “satisfactory year in a difficult environment.” He said prospects for the country’s aerospace and defense firms are brighter for 2005 with greater volumes of new orders flowing in–especially from commercial airliner and business aircraft programs–and exports achieving record levels.
The Airholding consortium led by Embraer of Brazil, with EADS as a minority partner, has taken a majority stake in Portuguese aircraft maintenance specialist Ogma, following the latter’s privatization late last year. European Union competition authorities have since approved the ?11.4 million ($14 million) deal, in which a company controlled by the Portuguese government retains the remaining 35 percent of the shareholding.